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Scarcity in the British Camp — Gates bides his Time— Foraging 
Movement of Burgoyne — Battle of the 7th of October — Bout 
of the British and Hessians — Situation of the Baroness de Riede- 
sel and Lady Harriet Ackland during the Battle — Death of Gen. 
Fraser — His Funeral — Night Retreat of the British — Expedition 
of Lady Harriet Ackland — Desperate Situation of Burgoyne at 
Saratoga — Capitulation — Surrender — Conduct of the American 
Troops — Scenes in the Camp — Gallant Courtesy of Schuyler to 
the Baroness de Riedesel — His Magnanimous Conduct toward 
Burgoyne — Return of the British Ships down the Hudson . . 23 


Washington advances to Skippack Creek — The British Fleet in the 
Delaware — Forts and Obstructions in the River — Washington 
meditates an Attack on the British Camp — Battle of German- 
town 46 


Washington at White Marsh — Measures to cut off the Enemy's Sup- 
plies — The Forts on the Delaware Re-enforced— Colonel Greene 


6 <?or)tei)ts 

of Rhode Island at Fort Mercer — Attack and Defense of that 
Fort — Death of Count Donop 57 


De Kalb commissioned Major-General — Pretensions of Conway — 
Thwarted by Washington — Conway Cabal — Gates remiss in 
Correspondence — Dilatory in forwarding Troops — Mission of 
Hamilton to Gates — Wilkinson Bearer of dispatches to Congress 
— A Tardy Traveler — His Reward — Conway Correspondence de- 
tected — Washington's Apology for his Army . . . .63 


Further Hostilities on the Delaware — Fort Mifflin attacked — Bravely 
defended — Reduced — Mission of Hamilton to Gates — Visits the 
Camps of Governor Clinton and Putnam on the Hudson — Put- 
nam on his Hobby-Horse — Difficulties in procuring Re-enforce- 
ments — Intrigues of the Cabal — Letters of Lovell and Mifflin to 
Gates — The Works at Red Bank destroyed — The Enemy in Pos- 
session of the Delaware 71 


Question of an Attack on Philadelphia — General Reed at Headquar- 
ters — Enemy's Works reconnoitered — Opinions in a Council of 
War — Exploit of Lafayette — Receives Command of a Division 
— Modification of the Board of War — Gates to Preside — Letter 
of Lovell — Sally Forth of General Howe — Evolutions and Skir- 
mishes — Conway Inspector- General — Consultation about Win- 
ter Quarters — Dreary March to Valley Forge — Hutting — Wash- 
ington's Vindicatory Letters— Retrospect of the Year . . 83 


Gates on the Ascendant — The Conway Letter — Suspicions — Conse- 
quent Correspondence between Gates and Washington — Warn- 
ing Letter from Dr. Craik— Anonymous Letters — Projected 

Expedition to Canada — Lafayette, Gates, and the Board of 
War 101 


Gates undertakes to explain the Conway Correspondence — Wash- 
ington's Searching Analysis of the Explanation — Close of the 
Correspondence — Spurious Letters published — Lafayette and 
the Canada Expedition— His Perplexities — Counsels of Wash- 
ington Ill 


More Trouble about the Conway Letter — Correspondence between 
Lord Stirling and Wilkinson — Wilkinson's Honor wounded — 
His Passage at Arms with General Gates — His Seat at the 
Board of War uncomfortable — Determines that Lord Stirling 
shall bleed — His Wounded Honor healed — His Interviews with 
Washington— Sees the Correspondence of Gates — Denounces 
Gates and gives up the Secretaryship — Is thrown out of Em- 
ploy — Closing Remarks on the Conway Cabal .... 122 


Committee of Arrangement — Reforms in the Army — Scarcity in 
the Camp — The Enemy revel in Philadelphia — Attempt to sur- 
prise Light-Horse Harry — His Gallant Defense — Praised by 
Washington— Promoted — Letter from General Lee — Burgoyne 
returns to England — Mrs. Washington at Valley Forge — Bryan 
Fairfax visits the Camp — Arrival of the Baron Steuben — His 
Character — Disciplines the Army — Greene made Quartermas- 
ter-General 132 


Fortifications of the Hudson — Project to surprise Sir Henry Clinton 
— General Howe forages the Jerseys — Ships and Stores burned 
at Bordentown — Plans for the next Campaign — Gates and Mifflin 

8 <?opter>t8 

under Washington's Command — Downfall of Conway— Lord 
North's Conciliatory Bills — Sent to Washington by Governor 
Try on — Resolves of Congress — Letter of Washington to Try on 
— Rejoicing at Valley Forge — The Mischianza .... 146 


Lafayette detached to keep Watch on Philadelphia — His Position 
at Barren Hill — Plan of Sir Henry to entrap him — Washington 
alarmed for his Safety — Stratagem of the Marquis — Exchange 
of General Lee and Colonel Ethan Allen — Allen at Valley Forge 
— Washington's Opinion of him — Preparations in Philadelphia 
to evacuate — Washington's Measures in Consequence — Arrival 
of Commissioners from England — Their Disappointment — Their 
Proceedings — Their Failure — Their Manifesto .... 158 


Preparations to evacuate Philadelphia — Washington calls a Coun- 
cil of War — Lee opposed to any Attack — Philadelphia evacu- 
ated — Movements in pursuit of Sir Henry Clinton — Another 
Council of War — Conflict of Opinions — Contradictory Conduct 
of Lee respecting the Command — The Battle of Monmouth 
Court House— Subsequent March of the Armies . . .168 


Correspondence between Lee and Washington relative to the Affair 
of Monmouth — Lee asks a Trial by Court-martial — The Verdict 
— Lee's Subsequent History 186 


Arrival of a French Fleet — Correspondence of Washington and the 
Count D'Estaing— Plans of the Count— Perturbation at New 
York — Excitement in the French Fleet — Expedition against 
Rhode Island — Operations by Sea and Land — Failure of the 

<?oi)tei}ts 9 

Expedition — Irritation between the Allied Forces — Considerate 
Letter of Washington to the Count D'Estaing .... 196 


Indian Warfare — Desolation of the Valley of Wyoming — Move- 
ments in New York — Counter Movements of Washington — 
Foraging Parties of the Enemy — Baylor's Dragoons massacred 
at Old Tappan — British Expedition against Little Egg Harbor 
— Massacre of Pulaski's Infantry — Retaliation on Donop's Rang- 
ers — Arrival of Admiral Byron — Endeavors to entrap D'Es- 
taing, but is disappointed — Expedition against St. Lucia — Expe- 
dition against Georgia — Capture of Savannah — Georgia subdued 
— General Lincoln sent to command in the South . . . 213 


Winter Cantonments of the American Army — Washington at Mid- 
dlebrook — Plan of Alarm Signals for the Jerseys — Lafayette's 
Project for an Invasion of Canada — Favored by Congress — Con- 
demned by Washington — Relinquished — Washington in Phila- 
delphia — The War Spirit declining — Dissensions in Congress — 
Sectional Feelings — Patriotic Appeals of Washington — Plans 
for the next Campaign — Indian Atrocities to be repressed — 
Avenging Expedition set on foot — Discontents of the Jersey 
Troops — Appeased by the Interference of Washington — Suc- 
cessful Campaign against the Indians 225 


Predatory Warfare of the Enemy — Ravages on the Chesapeake— 
Hostilities on the Hudson — Verplanck's Point and Stony Point 
taken — Capture of New Haven — Fairfield and Norwalk de- 
stroyed — Washington Plans a Counter Stroke — Stormingof 
Stony Point— Generous Letter of Lee . . . **"7~" . . 237 

10 <?oi)tei)t8 


Expedition against Penobscot — Night Surprisal of Paulus Hook- 
Washington fortifies West Point — His Style of Living there — 
Table at Headquarters — Sir Henry Clinton re-enforced — Arrival 
of D'Estaing on the Coast of Georgia — Plans in consequence — 
French Minister at Washington's Highland Camp — Letter to 
Lafayette — D'Estaing co-operates with Lincoln — Repulsed at 
Savannah — Washington re-enforces Lincoln — Goes into Win- 
ter Quarters — Sir Henry Clinton sends an Expedition to the 
South 25C 



Sufferings of the Army at Morristown — Rigorous Winter — Derange- 
ment of the Currency — Confusion in the Commissariat — Im- 
pressment of Supplies — Patriotic Conduct of the People of New 
Jersey — The Bay of New York frozen over — Lord Stirling's Ex- 
pedition against Staten Island — Knyphausen's Incursion into 
the Jerseys — Caldwell's Church at Elizabethtown burned — Char- 
acter of its Pastor — Foray into Westchester County — Burning of 
Young's House in the Valley of the Neperan .... 263 


Arnold in Command of Philadelphia — Unpopular Measures — Ar- 
nold's Style of Living — His Schemes and Speculations — His 
Collisions with the Executive Council — His Land Project — 
Charges sent against him to Congress — His Address to the 
Public— Charges referred to a Court-martial— His Marriage — 

^optepts 11 

Verdict of the Court-martial — Arnold reprimanded — Obtains 
leave of absence from the Army 2tfl 


South Carolina threatened — Its Condition and Population — Stormy- 
Voyage of Sir Henry Clinton — Loss of Horses — Character of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton — Fleet arrives at Tybee— Sir Henry 
Clinton advances upon Charleston — Lincoln prepares for De- 
fense — Commodore Whipple — Governor Rutledge — Forebodings 
of Washington — Embarkation of British Troops at New York — 
Washington sends De Kalb with Re-enforcements — His Hopeful 
Letter to Steuben 383 


Evils of the Continental Currency — Military Reforms proposed by 
Washington — Congress Jealous of Military Power — Committee 
of Three sent to Confer with Washington — Losses by Deprecia- 
tion of the Currency to be made good to the Troops — Arrival of 
Lafayette — Scheme for a Combined Attack upon New York — 
Arnold has Debts and Difficulties — His Proposals to the French 
Minister — Anxious to return to the Army — Mutiny of the Con- 
necticut Troops — Washington writes to Reed for Aid from Penn- 
sylvania—Good Effects of his Letter 291 


•Siege of Charleston continued — British Ships enter the Harbor — 
British troops march from Savannah — Tarleton and his Dra- 
goons—His Brush with Colonel Washington — Charleston re- 
enforced by Woodford — Tarleton's Exploits at Monk's Corner 
— At Laneau's Ferry — Sir Henry Clinton re-enforced — Charles- 
ton capitulates — Affair of Tarleton and Buford on the Waxhaw 
— Sir Henry Clinton embarks for New York . 308 

12 Qoptepts 


Knyphausen marauds the Jerseys — Sacking of Connecticut Farms 
— Murder of Mrs. Caldwell — Arrival and Movements of Sir 
Henry Clinton — Springfield Burned — The Jerseys Evacuated . 315 


Washington applies to the State Legislatures for Aid — Subscriptions 
of the Ladies of Philadelphia — Gates appointed to Command 
the Southern Department — French Fleet arrives at Newport — 
Preparations for a Combined Movement against New York — Ar- 
nold obtains Command at West Point — Greene resigns the office 
of Quartermaster-General 336 


North Carolina — Difficulties of its Invasion — Character of the Peo- 
ple and Country — Sumter, his Character and Story — Rocky 
Mount — Hanging Rock— Slow Advance of De Kalb — Gates 
takes Command — Desolate March — Battle of Camden— Flight 
of Gates — Sumter surprised by Tarleton at the Waxhaws — 
Washington's Opinion of Militia — His Letter to Gates . . 837 


Treason of Arnold — His Correspondence with the Enemy — His Ne- 
gotiations with Andre — Parting Scene with Washington — Mid- 
night Conference on the Banks of the Hudson — Return of An- 
dre by Land — Circumstances of his Capture .... 354 


Interview of Washington with the French Officers at Hartford — 
Plan of Attack disconcerted — Washington's Return — Scenes at 
Arnold's Headquarters in the Highlands — Tidings of Andre's 

^oi)tei)t8 13 

Capture— Flight of Arnold— Letters from the Traitor— Wash- 
ington's Precautions — Situation of Mrs. Arnold .... 375 


Andre's Conduct as a Prisoner — His Conversations with Colonel 
Tallmadge — Story of Nathan Hale — Andre's Prison at Tappan 
— Correspondence on his behalf — His Trial — Execution — Re- 
ward of the Captors — Reward of Arnold — His Proclamation — 
After Fortunes of Mrs. Arnold 384 


Greene takes Command at West Point — Insidious Attempts to 
shake the Confidence of Washington in his Officers — Plan 
to entrap Arnold — Character of Sergeant Champe — Court of 
Inquiry into the Conduct of Gates — Greene appointed to the 
Southern Department — Washington's Instructions to him — In- 
cursions from Canada — Mohawk Valley ravaged — State of the 
Army— Reforms adopted — Enlistment for the War — Half pay . 406 


The Marquis Lafayette and his Light Infantry — Proposes a Brilliant 
Stroke— Preparations for an Attack on the British Posts on New 
York Island — Visit of the Marquis of Chastellux to the Ameri- 
can Camp — Washington at Headquarters — Attack on the Brit> 
ish Posts given up — Stark forages Westchester County — Exploit 
of Tallmadge on Long Island 417 


Rigorous Measures ot Cornwallis in South Carolina — Ferguson sent 
to scour the Mountain Country between the Catawba and the 
Yadkin — Cornwallis in a Hornet's Nest — Movements of Fergu- 
son — Mountain Men and Fierce Men from Kentucky — Battle of 
King's Mountain — Retrograde March of Cornwallis . . . 426 

14 <?optei)ts 


Marion — His Character— By-names — Haunts — Tarleton in Quest of 
him — Sumter on the West Side of the Santee— His Affair with 
Tarleton at Black Stock Hill — Gates at Hillsborough — His Do- 
mestic Misfortunes — Arrival of Greene — His Considerate Con- 
duct — Gates Retires to his Estate — Condition of the Army — 
Stratagem of Colonel Washington at Clermont — Morgan de- 
tached to the District of Ninety -Six — Greene posts himself on 
the Pedee 436 


Hostile Embarkations to the South — Arnold in Command — Necessi- 
tous State of the Country — Washington urges a Foreign Loan 
— Mission of Colonel Laurens in France to seek Aid in Men and 
Money — Grievances of the Pennsylvania Line — Mutiny — Nego- 
tiations with the Mutineers — Articles of Accommodation — Pol- 
icy doubted by Washington — Rigorous Course adopted by him 
with other Malcontents — Successful — Ratification of the Articles 
of Confederation of the States 447 


Expedition of Arnold into Virginia — Buccaneering Ravages — 
Checked by Steuben — Arnold at Portsmouth — Congress re- 
solves to form Heads of Departments — Hamilton suggested 
by Sullivan for Department of Finance— High Opinion of 
him expressed by Washington — Misunderstanding between 
Hamilton and the Commander-in-chief 461 


Cornwallis prepares to invade North Carolina — Tarleton sent against 
Morgan — Battle at Cowpens — Morgan pushes for the Catawba 
with Spoils and Prisoners — Cornwallis endeavors to intercept 
him — The Rising of the River — Cornwallis at Ramsour's Mills . 470 

Qoptepts 15 


Greene joins Morgan on the Catawba — Adopts the Fabian Policy — 
Movement of Cornwallis to cross the Catawba — Affair at Mc- 
Gowan's Ford — Militia surprised by Tarleton at Tarrant's Tav- 
ern — Cornwallis checked by the Rising of the Yadkin — Contest 
of Skill and Speed of the two Armies in a March to the Banks 
of the Dan 480 


Cornwallis takes Post at Hillsborough — His Proclamation — Greene 
recrosses the Dan — Country Scoured by Lee and Pickens — Affair 
with Colonel Pyle — Maneuvers of Cornwallis to bring Greene 
to Action — Battle of Guilford Court-House — Greene Retreats to 
Troublesome Creek — Cornwallis marches toward Cape Fear — 
Greene pursues him — Is brought to a Stand at Deep River — De- 
termines to face about and carry the War into South Carolina 
— Cornwallis Marches for Virginia 490 


Arnold at Portsmouth, in Virginia— Expeditions sent against him — 
Instructions to Lafayette — Washington at Newport — Consulta- 
tions with De Rochambeau — Sailing of the French Fleet — Pur- 
sued by the English — Expedition of Lafayette to Virginia — En- 
gagement between the English and French Fleets — Failure of 
the Expedition against Arnold — Letter of Washington to Colonel 
Laurens — Measures to re-enforce Greene — General Phillips in 
Command at Portsmouth — Marauds the Country — Checked by 
Lafayette — Mount Vernon menaced — Death of Phillips . . 511 


Inefficient State of the Army — Maraud of Delancey — Death of 
Colonel Greene — Arrival of the Count de Barras — French 
Naval Force expected — Interview of Washington and De 

16 $oi)tei>t8 

Rochambeau at Weathersfield — Plan of Combined Operations- 
Financial Arrangement of Robert Morris— Scheme to Attack 
the Works on New York Island and capture Delancey's Corps 
— Encampments of American and French Armies in West- 
chester County— Reconnoitering Expeditions .... 525 


Movements and Counter-Movements of Cornwallis and Lafayette in 
Virginia — Tarleton and his Troopers scour the Country — A Dash 
at the State Legislature — xittempt to surprise the Governor at 
Monticello — Retreat of Jefferson to Carter's Mountain — Steuben 
outwitted by Simcoe — Lafayette joined by Wayne and Steuben 
— Acts on the Aggressive — Desperate Melee of McPherson and 
Simcoe — Cornwallis pursued to Jamestown Island — Mad An- 
thony in a Morass — His Impetuous Valor — Alertness of Lafayette 
— Washington's Opinion of the Virginia Campaign . . . 538 


Greene's Retrograde Operation in South Carolina — Appears before 
Camden — Affair at Hobkirk's Hill — Rawdon abandons Camden 
— Rapid Successes of the Americans — Greene's Attack on the 
Fortress of Ninety-Six — Operations against Lord Rawdon — 
Greene on the High Hills of Santee — Sumter scours the Lower 
Country — Dash of Colonel Wade Hampton at the Gates of 
Charleston — Exploits of Lee and Hampton — Of Captain Arm- 
strong at Quimby Bridge — Action in the Neighborhood — End 
of the Campaign 547 


Washington disappointed as to Re-enforcements — French Arma- 
ment destined for the Chesapeake — Attempts on New York 
postponed — March of the Armies to the Chesapeake — Strata- 
gems to deceive the Enemy — Arnold ravages New London — 
Washington at Philadelphia — March of the two Armies through 

Soptepts 17 

the City — Cornwallis at Yorktown — Preparations to proceed 
against him — Visit to Mount Vernon 558 


Cornwallis aroused to his Danger — His Retreat to the Carolinas cut 
off — Strengthens his Works — Action between the French and 
British Fleets — Washington and De Rochambeau visit the 
French Fleet — Operations before Yorktown .... 573 


Greene on the High Hills of Santee — The Enemy harassed — Greene 
marches against Stuart — Battle near Eutaw Springs . . . 584 

Siege and Surrender of Yorktown 592 


Dissolution of the Combined Armies — Washington at Eltham — 
Death of John Parke Custis — Washington at Mount Vernon — 
Correspondence about the next Campaign — Lafayette sails for 
France — Washington stimulates Congress to Military Prepara- 
tions — Project to surprise and carry off Prince William Henry 
from New York — The case of Captain Asgill .... 601 


Washington continues his Precautions — Sir Guy Carleton brings 
Pacific News — Discontents of the Army — Extraordinary Letter 
from Colonel Nicola — Indignant Reply of Washington — Joint 
Letter of Sir Guy Carleton and Admiral Digby — Junction of 
the Allied Armies on the Hudson — Contemplated Reduction 
of the Army . ....... 615 






Scarcity in the British Camp — Gates bides his Time — Foraging 
Movement of Burgoyne — Battle of the 7th of October — Rout 
of the British and Hessians — Situation of the Baroness de Riede- 
sel and Lady Harriet Ackland during the Battle — Death of Gen. 
Fraser — His Funeral — Night Retreat of the British — Expedition 
of Lady Harriet Ackland — Desperate Situation of Burgoyne at 
Saratoga — Capitulation — Surrender — Conduct of the American 
Troops — Scenes in the Camp — Gallant Courtesy of Schuyler to 
the Baroness de Riedesel — His Magnanimous Conduct toward 
Burgoyne — Return of the British Ships down the Hudson 

While Sir Henry Clinton had been thundering in the 
Highlands, Burgoyne and his army had been wearing out 
hope within their intrenchments, vigilantly watched/ but 
unassailed by the Americans. They became impatient even 
of this impunity. "The enemy, though he can bring four 
times more soldiers against us, shows no desire to make an 
attack," writes a Hessian officer.* 

Arnold, too, was chafing in the camp, and longing for a 
chance, as usual, "to right himself" by his sword. In 
a letter to Gates he tries to goad him on. "I think it my 

* Schlozer's Briefwechsel 


24 U/or^s of U/a8l?ii)$tor} Irvir?$ 

duty (which nothing shall deter me from doing) to acquaint 
you, the army are clamorous for action. The militia (who 
compose great part of the army) are already threatening 
to go home. One fortnight's inaction will, I make no doubt, 
lessen your army, by sickness and desertion, at least four 
thousand men. In which time the enemy may be re-en- 
forced, and make good their retreat. 

"I have reason to think, from intelligence since received, 
that, had we improved the 20th of September, it might have 
ruined the enemy. That is past; let me entreat you to 
improve the present time." 

Gates was not to be goaded into action; he saw the des- 
perate situation of Burgoyne, and bided his time. " Per- 
haps," writes he, " despair may dictate to him to risk all 
upon one throw ; he is an old gamester, and in his time has 
seen all chances. I will endeavor to be ready to prevent 
his good fortune, and, if possible, secure my own." * 

On the 7th of October, but four or five days remained of 
the time Burgoyne had pledged himself to await the co 
operation of Sir Henry Clinton. He now determined to make 
a grand movement on the left of the American camp, to dis- 
cover whether he could make a passage, should it be neces- 
sary to advance, or dislodge it from its position, should 
he have to retreat. Another object was to cover a forage 
of the army, which was suffering from the great scarcityc 

For this purpose fifteen hundred of his best troops, with 
two twelve-pounders, two howitzers, and six six-pounders, 
were to be led by himself, seconded by Major-generals 
Phillips and Riedesel, and Brigadier-general Fraser. "No 
equal number of men," says the British accounts, "were 

* Letter to Governor Clinton. Gates's Papers. 

Cife of U/asl?ii?<$ton 25 

ever better commanded ; and it would have been difficult, 
indeed, to have matched the men with an equal number. ' ' * 

On leaving his camp, Burgoyne committed the guard of 
it on the high grounds to Brigadier-generals Hamilton and 
Specht, and of the redoubts on the low grounds near the river 
to Brigadier-general Gall. 

Forming his troops within three-quarters of a mile of the 
left of the Americans, though covered from their sight by 
the forest, he sent out a corps of rangers, provincials and 
Indians, to skulk through the woods, get in their rear, 
and give them an alarm at the time the attack took place 
in front. 

The movement, though carried on behind the screen of 
forests, was discovered. In the afternoon the advanced 
guard of the American center beat to arms : the alarm was 
repeated throughout the line. Gates ordered his officers to 
their alarm posts, and sent forth Wilkinson, the adjutant- 
general, to inquire the cause. From a rising ground in an 
open place he descried the enemy in force, their foragers 
busy in a field of wheat, the officers reconnoitering the left 
wing of the camp with telescopes from the top of a cabin. 

Returning to the camp, Wilkinson reported the position 
and movements of the enemy; that their front was open, 
their flanks rested on woods, under cover of which they 
might be attacked, and their right was skirted by a height : 
that they were reconnoitering the left, and he thought 
offered battle. 

"Well, then," replied Gates, "order out Morgan to begin 
the game." 

A plan of attack was soon arranged. Morgan with his 

* Civil War in America, i. 302. 
Vol. XIV.—*** 2 

26 U/orks of \JJasY)\r)QtOT) Irufr>$ 

riflemen and a body of infantry was sent to make a circuit 
through the woods, and get possession of the heights on the 
right of the enemy, while General Poor with his brigade 
of New York and New Hampshire troops, and a part of 
Learned' s brigade, were to advance against the enemy's left. 
Morgan was to make an attack on the heights as soon as he 
should hear the fire opened below. 

Burgoyne now drew out his troops in battle array. The 
grenadiers, under Major Ackland, with the artillery, under 
Major Williams, formed his left, and were stationed on a 
rising ground, with a rivulet called Mill Creek in front. 
Next to them were the Hessians, under Riedesel, and Brit- 
ish, under Philips, forming the center. The light infantry, 
under Lord Balcarras, formed the extreme right; having 
in the advance a detachment of five hundred picked men, 
under General Fraser, ready to flank the Americans as soon 
as they should be attacked in front. 

He had scarce made these arrangements when he was 
astonished and confounded by a thundering of artillery on 
his left, and a rattling fire of rifles on the woody heights 
on his right. The troops under Poor advanced steadily up 
the ascent where Ackland's grenadiers and Williams' artil- 
lery were stationed; received their fire, and then rushed 
forward. Ackland's grenadiers received the first brunt, but 
it extended along the line, as detachment after detachment 
arrived, and was carried on with inconceivable fury. The 
Hessian artillerists spoke afterward of the heedlessness with 
which the Americans rushed upon the cannon, while they 
were discharging grape shot. The artillery was repeatedly 
taken and retaken, and at length remained in possession of 
the Americans, who turned it upon its former owners. 
Major Ackland was wounded in both legs, and taken pris- 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 27 

©ner. Major Williams of the artillery was also captured. 
The headlong impetuosity of the attack confounded the reg- 
ular tacticians. Much of this has been ascribed to the pres- 
ence and example of Arnold. That daring officer, who had 
lingered in the camp in expectation of a fight, was exasper- 
ated at having no command assigned him. On hearing the 
din of battle, he could restrain no longer his warlike impulse, 
but threw himself on his horse and sallied forth. Gates saw 
him issuing from the camp. "He'll do some rash thing!" 
cried he, and sent his aid-de-camp, Major Armstrong, to call 
him back. Arnold surmised his errand and evaded it. 
Putting spurs to his horse, he dashed into the scene of ac- 
tion, and was received with acclamation. Being the superior 
officer in the field his orders were obeyed of course. Putting 
himself at the head of the troops of Learned's brigade, he 
attacked the Hessians in the enemy's center, and broke them 
with repeated charges. Indeed, for a time his actions seemed 
to partake of frenzy; riding hither and thither, brandishing 
his sword, and cheering on the men to acts of desperation. 
In one of his paroxysms of excitement he struck and wounded 
an American officer in the head with his sword, without, as 
he afterward declared, being conscious of the act. Wilkin- 
son asserts that he was partly intoxicated ; but Arnold needed 
only his own irritated pride and the smell of gunpowder to 
rouse him to acts of madness. 

Morgan, in the meantime, was harassing the enemy's 
right wing with an incessant fire of small-arms, and prevent- 
ing it from sending any assistance to the center. General 
Fraser with his chosen corps for some time rendered great 
protection to this wing. Mounted on an iron-gray charger, 
his uniform of a field-officer made him a conspicuous object 
for Morgan's sharpshooters. One bullet cut the crupper of 

28 U/orKs of U/a8^ir?^tor> Irvioo; 

his horse, another grazed his mane. "You are singled out, 
general," said his aid-de-camp, "and had better shift your 
ground." "My duty forbids me to fly from danger," was 
che reply. A moment afterward he was shot down by a 
marksman posted in a tree. Two grenadiers bore him to 
the camp. 

Fraser's fall was as a death-blow to his corps. The 
arrival on the field of a large re-enforcement of New York 
troops, under General Ten Broeck, completed the confusion. 
Burgoyne saw that the field was lost, and now only thought 
of saving his camp. The troops nearest the lines were or- 
dered to throw themselves within them, while Generals 
Phillips and Riedesel covered the retreat of the main body, 
which was in danger of being cut off. The artillery was 
abandoned, all the horses, and most of the men who had so 
bravely defended it, having been killed. The troops, though 
hard pressed, retired in good order. Scarcely had they en- 
tered the camp when it was stormed with great fury; the 
Americans, with Arnold at their head, rushing to the lines 
under a severe discharge of grape-shot and small-arms. 
Lord Balcarras defended the intrenchments bravely; the 
action was fierce, and well sustained on both sides. After 
an ineffectual attempt to make his way into the camp in this 
quarter at the point of the bayonet, Arnold spurred his horse 
toward the right flank of the camp occupied by the German 
reserve, where Lieutenant-colonel Brooks was making a 
general attack with a Massachusetts regiment. Here, with 
a part of a platoon, he forced his way into a sallyport, but 
a shot from the retreating Hessians killed his horse, and 
wounded him in the same leg which had received a wound 
before Quebec. He was borne off from the field, but not 
until the victory was complete; for the Germans retreated 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tor> 29 

from the works, leaving on the field their brave defender, 
Lieutenant-colonel Breyman, mortally wounded 

The night was now closing in. The victory of the Amer- 
icans was decisive., They had routed the enemy, killed and 
wounded & great number, made many prisoners, taken their 
field-artillery, and gained possession of a part of their works 
which laid open the right and the rear of their camp They 
lay all night on their arms, within half a mile of the scene 
of aotion. prepared to renew the assault upon the camp in 
the morning. Affecting scenes had occurred in the enemy's 
camp during this deadly conflict. 

In the morning previous to the battle, the Baroness De 
Riedesel had breakfasted with her husband in the camp. 
Generals Burgoyne, Phillips, and Fraser were to dine with 
her husband and herself, in a house in the neighborhood, 
where she and her children were quartered. She observed 
much movement in the camp, but was quieted by the assur- 
ance that it was to be a mere reconnoissance. On her way 
home she met a number of Indians, painted and decorated 
and armed with guns, and shouting "War ! "War ! Her fears 
were awakened, and scarce had she reached home when she 
heard the rattling of firearms and the thundering of artillery. 
The din increased, and soon became so terrible that she "was 
more dead than alive." 

About one o'clock came one of the generals who were to 
have dined with her — poor General Fraser — brought upon 
a handbarrow, mortally wounded. "The table," writes sha, 
"which was already prepared for dinner, was immediately 
removed, and a bed placed in its stead for the general. I 
sat terrified and trembling in a corner. The noise grew 
more alarming, and I was in a continual agony and tremor, 
while thinking that my husband might soon, also, be brought 

80 U/orl{8 of ll/as^ir^tor) Irving 

in, wounded like General Fraser. That poor general said 
to the surgeon, 'Tell me the truth, is there no hope?' — There 
was none. Prayers were read, after which he desired that 
General Burgoyne should be requested to have him buried 
on the next day at six o'clock in the evening, on a hill where 
a breastwork had been constructed." 

Lady Harriet Ackland was in a tent near by. News 
came to her that her husband was mortally wounded and 
taken prisoner. She was in an agony of distress. The 
baroness endeavored to persuade her that his wound might 
not be dangerous, and advised her to ask permission to join 
him. She divided the night between soothing attentions to 
Lady Harriet and watchful care of her children, who were 
asleep, but who she feared might disturb the poor dying 
general. Toward morning, thinking his agony approaching, 
she wrapped them in blankets and retired with them into the 
entrance hall. Courteous even in death, the general sent 
her several messages to beg her pardon for the trouble he 
thought he was giving her. At eight o'clock in the morning 
he expired.* 

Burgoyne had shifted his position during the night to 
heights about a mile to the north, close to the river, and 
covered in front by a ravine. Early in the morning the 
Americans took possession of the camp which he had aban- 
doned. A random fire of artillery and small arms was kept 
up on both sides during the day. The British sharpshooters 
stationed in the ravine did some execution, and General Lin- 
coln was wounded in the leg while reconnoitering. Gates, 
however, did not think it advisable to force a desperate 
enemy when in a strong position, at the expense of a prodigal 

* Riedesel's Memoirs. 

Cife of U/as}?ii)<$toi) 31 

waste of blood. He took all measures to cut off his retreat 
and insure a surrender. General Fellows, with 1,400 men, 
had already been sent to occupy the high ground east of the 
Hudson opposite Saratoga Ford. Other detachments were 
sent higher up the river in the direction of Lake George. 

Burgoyne saw that nothing was left for him but a prompt 
and rapid retreat to Saratoga, yet in this he was delayed by 
a melancholy duty of friendship; it was to attend the obse- 
quies of the gallant Fraser, who, according to his dying 
request, was to be interred at six o'clock in the evening, 
within a redoubt which had been constructed on a hill. 

Between sunset and dark his body was borne to the 
appointed place by grenadiers of his division, followed by 
the generals and their staff. The Americans seeing indis- 
tinctly what, in the twilight, appeared to be a movement of 
troops up the hill and in the redoubt, pointed their artillery 
in that direction. "Cannon balls flew around and above 
the assembled mourners," writes the Baroness Riedesel, who 
was a spectator from a distance. "Many cannon balls flew 
close by me, but my whole attention was engaged by the 
funeral scene, where I saw my husband exposed to imminent 
danger. This, indeed, was not a moment to be apprehensive 
for my own safety. General Gates protested afterward that 
had he known what was going on he would have stopped the 
fire immediately." * 

"We have the scene still more feelingly described by Bur- 

"The incessant cannonade during the ceremony; the 
steady attitude and unaltered voice with which the chaplain 
officiated, though frequently covered with dust which the 

* RiedesePs Memoirs, p. 171. 

32 U/orl^8 of UfaztyqqtOT) Iruir)($ 

shot threw up on all sides of him ; the mute but expressive 
mixture of sensibility and indignation upon every counte- 
nance ; these objects will remain to the last of life upon the 
mind of every man who was present. The growing dark- 
ness added to the scenery, and the whole marked a character 
of that juncture which would make one of the finest subjects 
for the pencil of a master that the field ever exhibited. To 
the canvas and to the faithful page of a more important 
historian, gallant friend! I consign thy memory. There 
may thy talents, thy manly virtues, their progress and their 
period, find due distinction, and long may they survive, long 
after the frail record of my pen shall be forgotten!" 

General Fraser was well worthy of this eulogium. He 
was the most popular officer of the army, and one of the most 
efficient. He was one in whom Burgoyne reposed the most 
implicit confidence, and deeply must it have added to his 
gloom of mind, at this dark hour of his fortunes, to have 
this his friend and counselor and brother in arms shot down 
at his side. 

"The reflections arising from these scenes," writes he, 
"gave place to the perplexities of the night. A defeated 
army was to retreat from an enemy flushed with success, 
much superior in front, and c/ccupying strong posts in the 
country behind. We were equally liable upon that march 
to be attacked in front, flank or rear." 

Preparations had been made to decamp immediately after 
the funeral, and at nine o'clock at night the retreat com- 
menced. Large fires had been lighted, and many tents were 
left standing to conceal the movement. The hospital, in 
which were about three hundred sick and wounded, was 
abandoned, as were likewise several bateaux laden with 
baggage and provisions. 

Cife of U/a8t?ip<$toi7 33 

It was a dismal retreat. The rain fell in torrents, the 
roads were deep and broken, and the horses weak and half- 
starved from want of forage. At daybreak there was a 
halt to refresh the troops, and give time for the bateaux 
laden with provisions to come abreast. In three hours the 
march was resumed, but before long there was another halt, 
to guard against an American reconnoitering party which 
appeared in sight. "When the troops were again about to 
march, General Burgoyne received a message from Lady 
Harriet Ackland, expressing a wish to pass to the American 
camp and ask permission from General Gates to join her 
husband. "Though I was ready to believe," writes Bur- 
goyne, "(for I had experience), that patience and fortitude, 
in a supreme degree, were to be found, as well as every other 
virtue, under the most tender forms, I was astonished at this 
proposal. After so long an agitation of spirits, exhausted 
not only for want of rest, but absolutely want of food, 
drenched in rains for twelve hours together, that a woman 
should be capable of such an undertaking as delivering her- 
self to the enemy, probably in the night, and uncertain of 
what hands she might first fall into, appeared an effort 
above human nature. The assistance I was enabled to give 
her was small indeed ; I had not even a cup of wine to offer 
her; but I was told she had found from some kind and fort- 
unate hand a little rum and dirty water. All I could fur- 
nish her was an open boat, and a few lines, written upon 
dirty wet paper, to General Gates, recommending her to his 

"Mr. Brudenell, the chaplain of the artillery (the same 
gentleman who had officiated so signally at General Fraser's 
funeral), readily undertook to accompany her, and with one 
female servant, and the major's valet-de-chambre (who had 

34 U/or^s of Was\)iT)$tOT) Irv!i)$ 

a ball which he had received in the late action then in his 
shoulder), she rowed down the river to meet the enemy." 

The night was far advanced before the boat reached the 
American outposts. It was challenged by a sentinel, who 
threatened to fire into it should it attempt to pass. Mr. 
Brudenell made known that it was a flag of truce, and stated 
who was the personage it brought; report was made to the 
adjutant-general. Treachery was apprehended, and word 
was returned to detain the flag until daylight Lady Har- 
riet and her companions were allowed to land. Major Dear- 
born, the officer on guard, surrendered his chamber in the 
guard-house to her ladyship; bedding was brought, a fire 
was made, tea was served, and her mind being relieved by 
assurances of her husband's safety, she was enabled to pass 
a night of comparative comfort and tranquillity.* She pro- 
ceeded to the American camp in the morning, when, Bur- 
goyne acknowledges, "she was received and accommodated 
by General Gates with all the humanity and respect that 
her rank, her merits, and her fortune deserved." 

To resume the fortunes of the retreating army. It rained 
terribly through the residue of the 9th, and, in consequence 
of repeated halts, they did not reach Saratoga until evening. 
A detachment of Americans had arrived there before them, 
and were throwing up intrenchments on a commanding 
height at Fish Kill. They abandoned their work, forded 
the Hudson, and joined a force under General Fellows, 
posted on the hills east of the river. The bridge over the 
Fish Kill had been destroyed ; the artillery could not cross 
until the ford was examined. Exhausted by fatigue, the 

* The statement here given is founded on the report made 
to General Wilkinson by Major (afterward General) Dear- 
born. It varies from that of Burgoyne. 

Cife of U/asfyin^top 35 

men for the most part had not strength nor inclination to 
cut wood nor make fire, but threw themselves upon the wet 
ground in their wet clothes, and slept under the continuing 
rain. "I was quite wet," writes the Baroness Riedesel, 
"and was obliged to remain in that condition for want of a 
place to change my apparel. I seated myself near a fire and 
undressed the children, and we then laid ourselves upon 
some straw." 

At daylight on the 10th, the artillery and the last of the 
troops passed the fords of the Fish Kill, and took a position 
upon the heights, and in the redoubts formerly constructed 
there. To protect the troops from being attacked in passing 
the ford by the Americans, who were approaching, Burgoyne 
ordered fire to be set to the farmhouses and other buildings 
on the south side of the Fish Kill. Among the rest, the noble 
mansion of General Schuyler, with storehouses, granaries, 
mills, and the other appurtenances of a great rural establish- 
ment, was entirely consumed. Burgoyne himself estimated 
the value of property destroyed at ten thousand pounds ster- 
ling. The measure was condemned by friend as well as foe, 
but he justified it on the principles of self-preservation. 

The force under General Fellows, posted on the opposite 
hills of the Hudson, now opened fire from a battery com- 
manding a ford of that river. Thus prevented from cross- 
ing, Burgoyne thought to retreat along the west side as far 
as Fort George, on the way to Canada, and sent out work- 
men under a strong escort to repair the bridges, and open 
the road toward Fort Edward. The escort was soon recalled 
and the work abandoned ; for the Americans under General 
Gates appeared in great force, on the heights south of the 
Fish Kill, and seemed preparing to cross and bring on an 
engt nt. 

36 U/orKs of UVasfyiD^too Iruir?$ 

The opposite shores of the Hudson were now lined with 
detachments of Americans. Bateaux laden with provisions v 
which had attended the movements of the army, were fired 
upon, many taken, some retaken with loss of life. It was 
necessary to land the provisions from such as remained and 
bring them up the hill into the camp, which was done under 
a heavy fire from the American artillery. 

Burgoyne now called a general council of war, in which 
it was resolved, since the bridges could not be repaired, to 
abandon the artillery and baggage, let the troops carry a 
supply of provisions upon their backs, push forward in the 
night, and force their way across the fords at or near Fort 

Before the plan could be put in execution, scouts brought 
word that the Americans were intrenched opposite those 
fords, and encamped in force with cannon, on the high 
ground between Fort Edward and Fort George. In fact, 
by this time the American army, augmented by militia and 
volunteers from all quarters, had posted itself in strong po- 
sitions on both sides of the Hudson, so as to extend three- 
fourths of a circle round the enemy. 

Giving up all further attempt at retreat, Burgoyne now 
fortified his camp on the heights to the north of Fish Kill, 
still hoping that succor might arrive from Sir Henry Clin- 
ton, or that an attack upon his trenches might give him some 
chance of cutting his way through. 

In this situation his troops lay continually on their arms. 
His camp was subjected to cannonading from Fellows's bat- 
teries on the opposite side of the Hudson, Gates's batteries 
on the south of Fish Kill, and a galling fire from Morgan's 
riflemen, stationed on heights in the rear. 

The Baroness de Riedesel and her helpless little ones 

Cife of UfazfyvqtoT) 37 

were exposed to the dangers and horrors of this long tur- 
moil. On the morning when the attack was opened, Gen- 
eral de Riedesel sent them to take refuge in a house in the 
vicinity. On their way thither the baroness saw several 
men on the opposite bank of the Hudson leveling their mus- 
kets and about to fire. Throwing her children in the back 
part of the carriage the anxious mother endeavored to cover 
them with her body. The men fired; a poor wounded sol- 
dier, who had sought shelter behind the carriage, received a 
shot which broke his arm. The baroness succeeded in get- 
ting to the house. Some women and crippled soldiers had 
already taken refuge there. It was mistaken for headquar- 
ters and cannonaded. The baroness retreated into the. cel- 
lar, laid herself in a corner near the door with her children's 
heads upon her knees, and passed a sleepless night of mental 

In the morning the cannonade began anew. Cannon 
balls passed through the house repeatedly with a tremen- 
dous noise. A poor soldier who was about to have a leg 
amputated, lost the other by one of these balls. The day 
was passed among such horrors. The wives of a major, a 
lieutenant, and a commissary, were her companions in mis- 
ery. "They sat together," she says, "deploring their situa- 
tion, when some one entered to announce bad news." There 
was whispering among her companions, with deep looks of 
sorrow. "I immediately suspected," says she, "that my 
husband had been killed. I shrieked aloud." She was 
soothed by assurances that nothing had happened to him; 
and was given to understand, by a sidelong glance, that the 
wife of the lieutenant was the unfortunate one; her husband 
had been killed. 

For Bix days she and her children remained in this dis- 

38 U/or^s of U/asl?in$toi) Iruin$ 

mal place of refuge. The cellar was spacious, with three 
compartments, but the number of occupants increased. The 
wounded were brought in to be relieved — or to die. She re 
mained with her children near the door, to escape more easily 
in case of fire. She put straw under mattresses; on these 
she lay with her little ones, and her female servants slept 
near her. 

Her frequent dread was that the army might be driven 
off or march away, and she be left behind. "I crept up the 
staircase," says she, "more than once, and when I saw our 
soldiers near their watch-fires I became more calm and could 
even have slept." 

There was great distress for water. The river was near, 
but the Americans shot every one who approached it. A 
soldier's wife at length summoned resolution, and brought a 
supply. "The Americans," adds the baroness, "told us 
afterward that they spared her on account of her sex." 

"I endeavored," continues she, "to dispel my melan- 
choly by constantly attending to the wounded. I made 
them tea and coffee, for which I received their warmest 
acknowledgments. I often shared my dinner with them." 

Her husband visited her once or twice daily, at the risk 
of his life. On one occasion General Phillips accompanied 
him, but was overcome when he saw the sufferings and dan- 
ger by which this noble woman and her children were sur- 
rounded, and of which we have given a very subdued pict- 
ure. "I would not for ten thousand guineas see this place 
again," exclaimed the general. "I am heart-broken with 
what I have seen." 

Burgoyne was now reduced to despair. His forces were 
diminished by losses, by the desertion of Canadians and roy- 
alists, and the total defection of the Indians; and on inspec- 

Cife of U/as^ip<$top ;^9 

tion it was found that the provisions on hand, even upon 
short allowance, would not suffice for more than three days. 
A council of war, therefore, was called of all the generals, 
field-officers and captains commanding troops. The delib- 
erations were brief. All concurred in the necessity of open- 
ing a treaty with General Gates for surrender on honorable 
terms. While they were yet deliberating, an eighteen pound 
ball passed through the tent, sweeping across the table round 
which they were seated. 

Negotiations were accordingly opened on the 13th, 
under sanction of a flag. Lieutenant Kingston, Bur- 
goyne's adjutant-general, was the bearer of a note, pro- 
posing a cessation of hostilities until terms could be ad- 

The first terms offered by Gates were that the enemy 
should lay down their arms within their intrenchments, and 
surrender themselves prisoners of war. These were indig- 
nantly rejected, with an intimation that, if persisted in, 
hostilities must recommence. 

Counter proposals were then made by General Burgoyne. 
and finally accepted by General Gates. According to these, 
the British troops were to march out of the camp with artil- 
lery and all the honors of war, to a fixed, place, where they 
were to pile their arms at a word of command from their 
own officers. They were to be allowed a free passage to 
Europe upon condition of not serving again in America dur- 
ing the present war. The army was not to be separated, 
especially the men from the officers; roll-calling and other 
regular duties were to be permitted ; the officers were to be 
on parole, and to wear their side-arms. All private prop- 
erty to be sacred; no baggage to be searched or molested. 
All persona appertaining to or following the camp, whatever 

40 U/orl^s of U/as^ir;<$tor) Irvii}©; 

might be their country, were to be comprehended in these 
terms of capitulation. 

Schuyler's late secretary, Colonel Varick, who was still 
in camp, writes to him on the 13th: "Burgoyne says he 
will send all his general officers, at ten in the morning, to 
finish and settle the business. This, I trust, will be accom- 
plished before twelve, and then I shall have the honor and 
happiness of congratulating you on the glorious success of 
our arms. I wish to God I could say under your command. 

"If you wish to see Burgoyne, you will be necessitated 
to see him here." * 

In the night of the 16th, before the articles of capitula- 
tion had been signed, a British officer from the army below 
made his way into the camp, with dispatches from Sir Henry 
Clinton, announcing that he had captured the forts in the 
Highlands, and had pushed detachments further up the Hud- 
son. Burgoyne now submitted to the consideration of his 
officers, "whether it was consistent with public faith, and if 
so, expedient, to suspend the execution of the treaty and 
trust to events." His own opinion inclined in the affirma- 
tive, but the majority of the council determined that the 
public faith was fully plighted. The capitulation was ac- 
cordingly signed by Burgoyne on the 17th of October. 

The British army, at the time of the surrender, was re- 
duced, by capture, death, and desertion, from nine thousand 
to five thousand seven hundred and fifty-two men. That of 
Gates, regulars and militia, amounted to ten thousand five 
hundred and fifty-four men on duty ; between two and three 
thousand being on the sick list, or absent on f urloughc 

By this capitulation, the Americans gained a fine train of 

* Schuyler Papers. 

Cife of U/asr;in$tor; 41 

artillery, seven thousand stand of arms, and a great quan- 
tity of clothing, tents, and military stores of all kinds. 

When the British troops marched forth to deposit their 
arms at the appointed place, Colonel Wilkinson, the adju- 
tant-general, was the only American soldier to be seen. 
Gates had ordered his troops to keep rigidly within their 
lines, that they might not add by their presence to the hu- 
miliation of a brave enemy. In fact, throughout all his con- 
duct, during the campaign, British writers, and Burgoyne 
himself, give him credit for acting with great humanity and 
forbearance. * 

Wilkinson, in his Memoirs, describes the first meeting 
of Gates and Burgoyne, which took place at the head of the 
American camp. They were attended by their staffs and by 
other general officers. Burgoyne was in a rich royal uni- 
form. Gates in a plain blue frock. When they had ap- 
proached nearly within sword's length they reined up and 
halted. Burgoyne, raising his hat most gracefully, said: 
"The fortune of war, General Gates, has made me your 
prisoner;" to which the other, returning his salute, replied, 
"I shall always be ready to testify that it has not been 
through any fault of your excellency." 

"We passed through the American camp," writes the 
already cited Hessian officer, "in which all the regiments 
were drawn out beside the artillery, and stood under arms. 
Not one of them was uniformly clad ; each had on the clothes 
which he wore in the fields, the church, or the tavern. They 

* "At the very time," says the British historians, "that 
General Burgoyne was receiving the most favorable condi- 
tions for himself and his ruined army, the fine village or 
town of Esopus, at no very great distance, was reduced to 
ashee, and not a house left standing 

42 U/orl^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> IruiQ$ 

stood, however, like soldiers, well arranged, and with a mili- 
tary air, in which there was but little to find fault with. All 
the muskets had bayonets, and the sharpshooters had rifles. 
The men all stood so still that we were filled with wonder. 
Not one of them made a single motion as if he would speak 
with his neighbor. Nay more, all the lads that stood there 
in rank and file, kind nature had formed so trim, so slender, 
so nervous, that it was a pleasure to look at them, and we 
were all surprised at the sight of such a handsome, well- 
formed race."* "In all earnestness," adds he, "English 
America surpasses the most of Europe in the growth and 
looks of its male population. The whole nation has a natu- 
ral turn and talent for war and a soldier's life." 

He made himself somewhat merry, however, with the 
equipments of the officers. A few wore regimentals ; and 
those fashioned to their own notions as to cut and color, 
being provided by themselves. Brown coats with sea-green 
facings, white linings, and silver trimmings, and gray coats 
in abundance, with buff facings and cuffs, and gilt buttons; 
in short, every variety of pattern. 

The brigadiers and generals wore uniforms and belts 
which designated their rank ; but most of the colonels and 
other officers were in their ordinary clothes; a musket and 
bayonet in hand, and a cartridge-box or powder-horn over 
the shoulder. But what especially amused him was the va- 
riety of uncouth wigs worn by the officers; the lingerings of 
an uncouth fashion. 

Most of the troops thus noticed were the hastily levied 
militia, the yeomanry of the country. "There were regular 
regiments also," he said, "which, for want of time and cloth, 

* Briefe aus Neu England. Schlozer's Briefwechsel. 

Cife of UVasr;in<$tor; 43 

were not yet equipped in uniform. These had standards 
with various emblems and mottoes, some of which had for 
us a very satirical signification. 

"But I must say to the credit of the enemy's regiments," 
continues he, "that not a man was to be found therein who, 
as we marched by, made even a sign of taunting, insulting 
exultation, hatred, or any other evil feeling; on the con- 
trary, they seemed as though they would rather do us honor. 
As we marched by the great tent of General Gates, he in- 
vited in the brigadiers and commanders of regiments, and 
various refreshments were set before them. Gates is be- 
tween fifty and sixty years of age; wears his own thin gray 
hair; is active and friendly, and on account of the weakness 
of his eyes constantly wears spectacles. At headquarters 
we met many officers, who treated us with all possible po- 
liteness. " 

We now give another page of the Baroness de RiedesePs 
fortunes, at this time of the surrender. "My husband's 
groom brought me a message to join him with the children. 
I once more seated myself in my dear calash, and, while rid- 
ing through the American camp, was gratified to observe 
that nobody looked at us with disrespect, but, on the con- 
trary, greeted us, and seemed touched at the sight of a cap- 
tive mother with her children. I must candidly confess that 
I did not present myself, though so situated, with much 
courage to the enemy, for the thing was entirely new to me. 
"When I drew near the tents, a good-looking man advanced 
toward me, and helping the children from the calash, kissed 
and caressed them : he then offered me his arm, and tears 
trembled in his eyes. 'You tremble,' said he; 'do not bo 
alarmed, I pray you.' 'Sir,' cried I, 'a countenance so i 
pressive of benevolence, and the kindness you have evinced 

44 U/orl^s of U/as^io^top Irvir)©; 

toward my children, are sufficient to dispel all apprehen- 
sions.' He then ushered me into the tent of General Gates, 
whom I found engaged in friendly conversation with Gen- 
erals Burgoyne and Phillips. General Burgoyne said to me, 
'You can now be quiet, and free from all apprehension of 
danger.' I replied that I should indeed be reprehensible, if 
I felt any anxiety when our general felt none, and was on 
such friendly terms with General Gates. 

"All the generals remained to dine with General Gates. 
The gentleman who had received me with so much kindness, 
came and said to me, 'You may find it embarrassing to be 
the only lady in such a large company of gentlemen ; will 
you come with your children to my tent, and partake of a 
frugal dinner, offered with the best will?' 'By the kindness 
you show to me,' returned I, 'you induce me to believe that 
you have a wife and children.' He informed me that he 
was General Schuyler. He regaled me with smoked tongues, 
which were excellent, with beefsteaks, potatoes, fresh butter 
and bread. Never did a dinner give me more pleasure than 
this, and I read the same happy change on the countenances 
of all those around me. That my husband was out of dan- 
ger was a still greater joy. After dinner, General Schuyler 
begged me to pay him a visit at his house at Albany, where 
he expected that General Burgoyne would also be his guest. 
I sent to ask my husband's directions, who advised me to 
accept the invitation." The reception which she met with 
at Albany, from General Schuyler's wife and daughters, was 
not, she said, like the reception of enemies, but of the most 
intimate friends. "They loaded us with kindness," writes 
she, "and they behaved in the same manner toward General 
Burgoyne, though he had ordered their splendid establish- 
ment to be burned, and without any necessity, it was said. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 45 

But all their actions proved that in the sight of the misfort- 
unes of others they quickly forgot their own." It was, in 
fact, the lot of Burgoyne to have coals of fire heaped on his 
head by those with whom he had been at enmity. One of 
the first persons whom he had encountered in the American 
camp was General Schuyler. He attempted to make some 
explanation or excuse about the recent destruction of his 
property. Schuyler begged him not to think of it, as the 
occasion justified it, according to the principles and rules of 

"He did more," said Burgoyne, in a speech before the 
House of Commons; * 6 he sent an aid-de-camp to conduct me 
to Albany; in order, as he expressed it, to procure better 
quarters than a stranger might be able to find. That gen- 
tleman conducted me to a very elegant house, and, to my 
great surprise, presented me to Mrs. Schuyler and her fam- 
ily. In that house I remained during my whole stay in Al- 
bany, with a table of more than twenty covers for me and 
my friends, and every other demonstration of hospitality." 

This was indeed realizing the vaunted courtesy and mag- 
nanimity of the age of chivalry. 

The surrender of Burgoyne was soon followed by the 
evacuation of Ticonderoga and Fort Independence, the gar- 
risons retiring to the Isle aux Noix and St. John's. As to 
the armament on the Hudson, the commanders whom Sir 
Henry Clinton had left in charge of it received, in the midst 
of their desolating career, the astounding intelligence of the 
capture of the army with which they had come to co-operate. 
Nothing remained for them, therefore, but to drop down the 
river and return to New York. 

The whole expedition, though it had effected much dam- 

• to the Americans, failed to be of essential service to the 

46 U/orl^s of U/a8bir)$tor> Iruir?$ 

royal causeo The fortresses in the Highlands could not be 
maintained, and had been evacuated and destroyed, and the 
plundering and burning of defenseless towns and villages, 
and especially the conflagration of Esopus, had given to the 
whole enterprise the character of a maraud, disgraceful in 
civilized warfare, and calculated only to inflame more deadly 
enmity and determined opposition. 


The reader may desire to know the sequel of Lady Har- 
riet Ackland's romantic story. Her husband recovered from 
his wounds j and they returned together to England, Major 
Ackland retained a grateful sense of the kind treatment they 
had experienced from the Americans. At a dinner party he 
had warm words with another British officer, who questioned 
the American character for courage. A duel ensued, in 
which the major was killed. The shock to Lady Harriet 
produced mental derangement. She recovered in the course 
of a couple of years, and ultimately was married to Mr. 
Brudenell, the worthy chaplain who had been her compan- 
ion and protector in the time of her distress. 


Washington advances to Skippack Creek — The British Fleet in the 
Delaware — Forts and Obstructions in the River— Washington 
meditates an Attack on the British Camp— Battle of German- 

Having given the catastrophe of the British invasion 
from the North, we will revert to that part of the year's 
campaign which was passing under the immediate eye of 
Washington. We left him encamped at Pott's Grove, to 

Cife of U/asr;in$eon 47 

ward the end of September, giving his troops a few days' 
repose after their severe fatigues. Being rejoined by "Wayne 
and Small wood with their brigades, and other troops being 
arrived from the Jerseys, his force amounted to about eight 
thousand Continentals and three thousand militia; with these 
he advanced, on the 30th of September, to Skippack Creek, 
about fourteen miles from Germantown, where the main 
body of the British army lay encamped ; a detachment un- 
der Cornwallis occupying Philadelphia. 

Immediately after the battle of Brandy wine, Admiral 
Lord Howe with great exertions had succeeded in getting his 
ships of war and transports round from the Chesapeake into 
the Delaware, and had anchored them along the western 
shore from Reedy Island to Newcastle. They were prevented 
from approaching nearer by obstructions which the Ameri- 
cans had placed in the river. The lowest of these were at 
Billingsport (or Bylling's Point), where chevaux-de-frise in 
the channel of the river were protected by a strong redoubt 
on the Jersey shore. Higher up were Fort Mifflin, on Mud 
(or Fort) Island, and Fort Mercer, on the Jersey shore; with 
chevaux-de-frise between them. Washington had exerted 
himself to throw a garrison into Fort Mifflin and keep up the 
obstructions of the river. "If these can be maintained," said 
he, "General Howe's situation will not be the most agree- 
able; for, if his supplies can be stopped by water, it may 
easily be done by land. To do both shall be my utmost en- 
deavor; and I am not without hope that the acquisition of 
Philadelphia may, instead of his good fortune, prove his 

Sir "William Howe was perfectly aware of this, and bad 
1 — 

* Letter to the President of Congress. Sparks, v. 71 

48 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruipo; 

concerted operations with his brother, by land and water, to 
reduce the forts and clear away the obstructions of the river. 
With this view he detached a part of his force into the Jer- 
seys, to proceed, in the first instance, against the fortifica- 
tions at Billingsport. 

Washington had been for some days anxiously on the 
lookout for some opportunity to strike a blow of consequence, 
when two intercepted letters gave him intelligence of this 
movement. He immediately determined to make an attack 
upon the British camp at Germantown while weakened by 
the absence of this detachment. To understand the plan of 
the attack some description of the British place of encamp- 
ment is necessary. 

Germantown, at that time, was little more than one con- 
tinued street, extending two miles north and south. The 
houses were mostly of stone, low and substantial, with steep 
roofs and protecting eaves. They stood apart from each 
other, with fruit trees in front and small gardens D Beyond 
the village, and about a hundred yards east of the road, 
stood a spacious stone edifice, with ornamented grounds, 
statues, groves and shrubbery, the country seat of Benja- 
min Chew, chief -justice of Pennsylvania previous to the 
Revolution. We shall have more to say concerning this 
mansion presently. 

Pour roads approached the village from above; that is, 
from the north. The Skippack, which was the main road, 
led over Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy down to and through 
the village toward Philadelphia, forming the street of which 
we have just spoken. On its right, and nearly parallel, was 
the Monatawny or Ridge road, passing near the Schuylkill, 
and entering the main road below the village. 

On the left of the Skippack, 01 main road, was the Lime- 

Cife of U/asr;in<$t:on 49 

kiln road, running nearly parallel to it for a time, and then 
turning toward it, almost at right angles, so as to enter the 
village at the market-place. Still further to the left or east, 
and outside of all, was the Old York road, falling into the 
main road some distance below the village. 

The main body of the British forces lay encamped across 
the lower part of the village, divided into almost equal parts 
by the main street or Skippack road. The right wing, com- 
manded by General Grant, was to the east of the road, the 
left wing to the west. 

Each wing was covered by strong detachments and 
guarded by cavalry. General Howe had his headquarters 
in the rear. 

The advance of the army, composed of the 2d battalion 
of British light-infantry, with a train of artillery, was more 
than two miles from the main body, on the west of the road, 
with an outlying picket stationed with two six-pounders at 
Allen's house on Mount Airy. About three-quarters of a 
mile in the rear of the light-infantry, lay encamped, in a field 
opposite "Chew's House,'* the 40th regiment of infantry, 
under Colonel Musgrave. 

According to Washington's plan for the attack, Sullivan 
was to command the right wing, composed of his own divis- 
ion, principally Maryland troops, and the division of General 
Wayne. He was to be sustained by a corps de reserve, 
under Lord Stirling, composed of Nash's North Carolina 
and Maxwell's Virginia brigades, and to be flanked by the 
brigade of General Conway. He was to march down the 
Skippack road and attack the left wing; at the same time 
General Armstrong, with the Pennsylvania militia, was to 
pass down the Monatawny or Rioge road, and get upon the 
enemy's left and rear. 

Vol. XIV.—* • * 3 

50 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii7<$toi) Iruip^ 

Greene, with the left wing, composed of his own division 
and the division of General Stephen, and flanked by McDou- 
galPs brigade, was to march down the Limekiln road, so as 
to enter the village at the market-house. The two divisions 
were to attack the enemy's right wing in front, McDougall 
with his brigade to attack it in flank, while Small wood's 
division of Maryland militia and Forman's Jersey brigade, 
making a circuit by the Old York road, were to attack it in 
the rear. Two-thirds of the forces were thus directed against 
the enemy's right wing, under the idea that, if it could be 
forced, the whole army must be pushed into the Schuylkill, 
or compelled to surrender. The attack was to begin on all 
quarters at daybreak.* 

About dusk, on the 3d of October, the army left its en- 
campment at Matuchen Hills by its different routes. Wash- 
ington accompanied the right wing. It had fifteen miles 
of weary march to make over rough roads, so that it was 
after daybreak when the troops emerged from the woods on 
Chestnut Hill. The morning was dark with a heavy fog. 
A detachment advanced to attack the enemy's out picket, 
stationed at Allen's House. The patrol was led by Captain 
Allen McLane, a brave Maryland officer, well acquainted 
with the ground, and with the position of the enemy. He 
fell in with double sentries, whom he killed with the loss 
of one man. The alarm, however, was given; the distant 
roll of a drum and the call to arms resounded through the 
murky air. The picket guard, after discharging their two 
six-pounders, were routed, and retreated down the south side 
of Mount Airy to the battalion of light-infantry, who were 

* Letter of Washington to the President of Congress. 
Letter of Sullivan to the President of New Hampshire. 

Cife of U/asr^in^too 51 

forming in order of battle. As their pursuers descended into 
the valley the sun rose, but was soon obscured. Wayne led 
the attack upon the light-infantry. "They broke at first," 
writes he, "without waiting to receive us, but soon formed 
again, when a heavy and well-directed fire took place on 
both sides." 

They again gave way, but being supported by the gren- 
adiers, returned to the charge. Sullivan's division and 
Conway's brigade formed on the west of the road, and joined 
in the attack ; the rest of the troops were too far to the north 
to render any assistance. The infantry, after fighting 
bravely for a time, broke and ran, leaving their artillery 
behind. They were hotly pursued by "Wayne. His troops 
remembered the bloody 20th of September, and the ruthless 
slaughter of their comrades. "They pushed on with the 
bayonet," says Wayne, "and took ample vengeance for that 
night's work." The officers endeavored to restrain their 
fury toward those who cried for mercy, but to little purpose. 
It was a terrible melee. The fog, together with the smoke 
of the cannonry and musketry, made it almost as dark as 
night. Our people, mistaking one another for the enemy, 
frequently exchanged shots before they discovered their 
error. The whole of the enemy's advance were driven from 
their camping ground, leaving their tents standing with 
all their baggage. Colonel Musgrave, with six companies 
of the 40th regiment, threw himself into Chew's House, 
barricaded the doors and lower windows, and took post 
above stairs; the main torrent of the retreat passed by, 
pursued by Wayne into the village. 

As the residue of this division of the army came up to 
join in the pursuit, Musgrave and his men opened a fire 
of musketry upon them from the upper windows of his 

52 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii}<$tor) Iruipo; 

citadel. This brought them to a halt. Some of the officers 
were for pushing on; but General Knox stoutly objected, 
insisting on the old military maxim, never to leave a gar- 
risoned castle in the rear. 

His objection unluckily prevailed. A flag was sent with 
a summons to surrender. A young Virginian, Lieutenant 
Smith, volunteered to be the bearer. As he was advancing 
he was fired upon and received a mortal wound. The house 
was now cannonaded, but the artillery was too light to have 
the desired effect. An attempt was made to set fire to the 
basement. He who attempted it was shot dead from a grated 
cellar window. Half an hour was thus spent in vain; scarce 
any of the defenders of the house were injured, though many 
of the assailants were slain. At length a regiment was left 
to keep guard upon the mansion and hold its garrison in 
check, and the rear division again pressed forward. 

This half hour's delay, however, of nearly one -half of 
the army, disconcerted the action. The divisions and bri- 
gades thus separated from each other by the skirmishing 
attack upon Chew's House could not be reunited. The fog 
and smoke rendered all objects indistinct at thirty yards' 
distance; the different parts of the army knew nothing of 
the position or movements of each other, and the commander- 
in-chief could take no view nor gain any information of the 
situation of the whole. The original plan of attack was only 
effectively carried into operation in the center. The flanks 
and rear of the enemy were nearly unmolested; still the 
action, though disconnected, irregular and partial, was ani- 
mated in various quarters. Sullivan, being re-enforced by 
Nash's North Carolina troops and Conway's brigade, pushed 
on a mile beyond Chew's House, where the left wing of the 
enemy gave way before him. 

Cife of U/asl?iD<$too 53 

Greene and Stephen, with their divisions, having had to 
make a circuit, were late in coming into action, and became 
separated from each other, part of Stephen's division being 
arrested by a heavy fire from Chew's House and pausing to 
return it. Greene, however, with his division, comprising 
the brigades of Muhlenberg and Scott, pressed rapidly for- 
ward, drove an advance regiment of light-infantry before 
him, took a number of prisoners, and made his way quite 
to the market-house in the center of the village, where he 
encountered the right wing of the British drawn up to receive 
him. The impetuosity of his attack had an evident effect 
upon the enemy, who began to waver. Forman and Small- 
wood, with the Jersey and Maryland militia, were just show- 
ing themselves on the right flank of the enemy, and our 
troops seemed on the point of carrying the whole encamp- 
ment. At this moment a singular panic seized our army. 
Various causes are assigned for it. Sullivan alleges that 
his troops had expended all their cartridges, and were 
alarmed by seeing the enemy gathering on their left, and 
by the cry of a light-horseman that the enemy were get- 
ting round them. Wayne's division, which had pushed 
the enemy nearly three miles, was alarmed by the approach 
of a large body of American troops on its left flank, which 
it mistook for foes, and fell back in defiance of every effort 
of its officers to rally it. In its retreat it came upon Ste- 
phen's division and threw it into a panic, being, in its turn, 
mistaken for the enemy; thus all fell into confusion, and 
our army fled from their own victory. 

In the meantime, the enemy, having recovered from the 
first effects of the surprise, advanced in their turn. General 
Grey brought up the left wing-, and pressed upon the Amer- 
ican troops as they receded. Lord Cornwallis, with a squad- 

54 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top IruiQ^ 

ron of light-horse from Philadelphia, arrived just in time to 
join in the pursuit. 

The retreat of the Americans was attended with less loss 
than might have been expected, and they carried off all their 
cannon and wounded. This was partly owing to the good 
generalship of Greene in keeping up a retreating fight with 
the enemy for nearly five miles ; and partly to a check given 
by Wayne, who turned his cannon upon the enemy from an 
eminence, near White Marsh Church, and brought them 
to a stand. The retreat continued through the day to Per- 
kiomen Creek, a distance of twenty miles. 

The loss of the enemy in this action is stated by them 
to be seventy-one killed, four hundred and fifteen wounded, 
and fourteen missing. Among the killed was Brigadier- 
general Agnew. The American loss was one hundred and 
fifty killed, hundred and twenty-one wounded, and about 
four hundred taken prisoners. Among the killed was Gen- 
eral Nash, of North Carolina. Among the prisoners was 
Colonel Matthews, of Virginia, who commanded a Virginia 
regiment in the left wing. Most of his officers and men 
were killed or wounded in fighting bravely near the market- 
house, and he himself received several bayonet wounds. 

Speaking of Washington's conduct amid the perplexities 
of this confused battle, General Sullivan writes, "I saw, 
with great concern, our brave commander-in-chief exposing 
himself to the hottest fire of the enemy, in such a manner 
that regard for my country obliged me to ride to him and 
beg him to retire. He, to gratify me and some others, 
withdrew to a small distance, but his anxiety for the fate 
of the day soon brought him up again, where he remained 
till our troops had retreated." 

The sudden retreat of the army gave him surprise, cha- 

Cife of U/asl?ir}<$toi} 55 

grin and mortification. "Every account," said he subse- 
quent^, in a letter to the President of Congress, "confirms 
the opinion I at first entertained that our troops retreated at 
the instant when victory was declaring herself in our favor. 
The tumult, disorder and even despair which, it seems, had 
taken place in the British army, were scarcely to be paral- 
leled and, it is said, so strongly did the ideas of a retreat 
prevail that Chester was fixed on for their rendezvous. I 
can discover no other cause for not improving this happy 
opportunity than the extreme haziness of the weather. " 

So also Captain Heth, of Virginia, who was in the action. 
"What makes this inglorious flight more grating to us is, 
that we know the enemy had orders to retreat and rendez- 
vous at Chester, and that upward of two thousand Hessians 
had actually crossed the Schuylkill for that purpose; that 
the tories were in the utmost distress and moving out of the 
city; that our friends confined in the new jail made it ring 
with shouts of joy; that we passed, in pursuing them, up- 
ward of twenty pieces of cannon, their tents standing filled 
with their choicest baggage; in fine, everything was as we 
could wish, when the above flight took place.'' * 

No one was more annoyed than Wayne. "Fortune 
smiled on us for full three hours," writes he; "the enemy 
were broke, dispersed, and flying in all quarters — we were 
in possession of their whole encampment, together with their 
artillery park, etc., etc. A windmill attack was made upon 
a house into which six light companies had thrown them- 
selves to avoid our bayonets. Our troops were deceived by 
this attack, thinking it something formidable. They fell 

* Letter to Colonel Lamb in the Lamb Papers, N. Y. 
Hist. Society, and quoted in the Life of Lamb, p. \*-'>. 

56 U/or^s of U/a&frir)$toi) Irvir;©; 

back to assist — the enemy, believing it to be a retreat, fol- 
lowed — confusion ensued, and we ran away from the arms 
of victory open to receive us." 

In fact, as has justly been observed by an experienced 
officer, the plan of attack was too widely extended for strict 
concert, and too complicated for precise co-operation, as it 
had to be conducted in the night, and with a large propor- 
tion of undisciplined militia; and yet, a bewildering fog 
alone appears to have prevented its complete success. 

But although the Americans were balked of the victory 
which seemed within their grasp, the impression made by 
the audacity of this attempt upon Germantown was greater, 
we are told, than that caused by any single incident of the 
war after Lexington and Bunker's Hill.* 

A British military historian, a contemporary, observes: 
"In this action the Americans acted upon the offensive; and 
though repulsed with loss, showed themselves a formidable 
adversary, capable of charging with resolution and retreat- 
ing with good order. The hope, therefore, entertained from 
the effect of any action with them as decisive and likely 
to put a speedy termination to the war was exceedingly 
abated." f 

The battle had its effect also in France. The Count de 
Vergennes observed to the American commissioners in Paris, 
on their first interview, that nothing struck him so much as 
General Washington's attacking and giving battle to Gen- 
eral Howe's army; that to bring an army raised within a 
year to this pass promised everything. 

The effect on the army itself may be judged from letters 

* Reed's Memoirs, vol. i., p. 319. 
f Civil War in America, i. 269. 

Cife of U/asl?in<$ton 57 

written at the time by officers to their friends. "Though 
we gave away a complete victory," writes one, "we have 
learned this valuable truth, that we are able to beat them 
by vigorous exertion, and that we are far superior in point 
of swiftness. We are in high spirits; every action gives 
our troops fresh vigor and a greater opinion of their own 
strength. Another bout or two must make the situation of 
the enemy very disagreeable." * 

Another writes to his father. "For my own part, I am 
so fully convinced of the justice of the cause in which we 
are contending, and that Providence, in its own good time, 
will succeed and bless it, that, were I to see twelve of the 
United States overrun by our cruel invaders, I should still 
believe the thirteenth would not only save itself, but also 
work out the deliverance of the others." f 


Washington at White Marsh — Measures to cut off the Enemy's Sup- 
plies — The Forts on the Delaware Re-enforced — Colonel Greene 
of Rhode Island at Fort Mercer — Attack and Defense of that 
Fort — Death of Count Donop 

Washington remained a few days at Perkiomen Creek, 
to give his army time to rest and recover from the disorder 
incident to a retreat. Having been re-enforced by the arrival 
of twelve hundred Rhode Island troops from Peekskill, under 
General Varnum, and nearly a thousand Virginia, Maryland 
and Pennsylvania troops, he gradually drew nearer to Phila- 

* Captain Heth to Colonel Lamb. 

t Major Shaw. Memoirs, by Josiah Quincry, p. 41. 

58 U/or^s of U/asi?iQ<$toi) Iruir>9 

delphia, and took a strong position at White Marsh, within 
fourteen miles of that city. By a resolution of Congress, all 
persons taken within thirty miles of any place occupied by 
British troops, in the act of conveying supplies to them, were 
subjected to martial law. Acting under the resolution, 
Washington detached large bodies of militia to scour the 
roads above the city, and between the Schuylkill and Chester, 
to intercept all supplies going to the enemy. 

On the forts and obstructions in the river, Washington 
mainly counted to complete the harassment of Philadelphia. 
These defenses had been materially impaired. The works 
at Billingsport had been attacked and destroyed, and some 
of the enemy's ships had forced their way through the 
chevaux-de-frise placed there. The American frigate ''Del- 
aware," stationed in the river between the upper forts and 
Philadelphia, had run aground before a British battery, 
and been captured. 

It was now the great object of the Howes to reduce and 
destroy, and of Washington to defend and maintain, the 
remaining forts and obstructions. Fort Mifflin, which we 
have already mentioned, was erected on a low, green, reedy 
island in the Delaware, a few miles below Philadelphia, and 
below the mouth of the Schuylkill. It consisted of a strong 
redoubt, with extensive outworks and batteries. There was 
but a narrow channel between the island and the Pennsyl- 
vania shore. The main channel, practicable for ships, was 
on the other side. In this were sunk strong chevaux-de- 
friseo difficult either to be weighed or cut through, and dan- 
gerous to any ships that might run against them ; subjected 
as they would be to the batteries of Fort Mifflin on one side, 
and on the other to those of Fort Mercer, a strong work at 
Red Bank on the Jersey shore. 

Cife of \JJa4\)iT)$tOY) 59 

Fort Mifflin was garrisoned by troops of the Maryland 
line, under Lieutenant-colonel Samuel Smith of Baltimore; 
and had kept up a brave defense against batteries erected 
by the enemy on the Pennsylvania shore. A re-enforce- 
ment of Virginia troops made the garrison between three 
and four hundred strong. 

Floating batteries, galleys and fire-ships, commanded by 
Commodore Hazel wood, were stationed under the forts and 
about the river. 

Fort Mercer had hitherto been garrisoned by militia, but 
"Washington now replaced them by four hundred of General 
Varnum's Rhode Island Continentals. Colonel Christopher 
Greene was put in command ; a brave officer who had accom- 
panied Arnold in his rough expedition to Canada, and fought 
valiantly under the walls of Quebec. "The post with which 
you are intrusted," writes Washington in his letter of in- 
structions, "is of the utmost importance to America. The 
whole defense of the Delaware depends upon it; and conse- 
quently all the enemy's hopes of keeping Philadelphia and 
finally succeeding in the present campaign." 

Colonel Greene was accompanied by Captain Mauduit 
Duplessis, who was to have the direction of the artillery. 
He was a young French engineer of great merit, who had 
volunteered in the American cause and received a commis- 
sion from Congress. The chevaux-de-frise in the river had 
been constructed under his superintendence. 

Greene, aided by Duplessis, made all haste to put Fort 
Mercer in a state of defense ; but before the outworks were 
completed, he was surprised (October 22) by the appearance 
of a large force emerging from a wood within cannon shot 
of the fort. Their uniform^ showed them to be Hessians. 
They were, in fact, four battalions twelve hundred strong 

60 U/or^s of U/asr;ii?<$tor) Iruii}©; 

of grenadiers, picked men, besides light-infantry and chas- 
seurs, all commanded by Count Donop, who had figured in 
the last year's campaign. 

Colonel Greene, in nowise dismayed by the superiority 
of the enemy, forming in glistening array before the wood, 
prepared for a stout resistance. In a little while an officer 
was descried, riding slowly up with a flag, accompanied by 
a drummer. Greene ordered his men to keep out of sight, 
that the fort might appear but slightly garrisoned. 

When within proper distance, the drummer sounded a 
parley, and the officer summoned the garrison to surrender; 
with a threat of no quarter in case of resistance. 

Greene's reply was that the post would be defended to 
the last extremity. 

The flag rode back and made report. Forthwith the 
Hessians were seen at work throwing up a battery within 
half a mile of the outworks. It was finished by four o'clock, 
and opened a heavy cannonade, under cover of which the 
enemy were preparing to approach. 

As the American outworks were but half finished, and 
were too extensive to be manned by the garrison, it was de- 
termined by Greene and Duplessis that the troops should 
make but a short stand there ; to gall the enemy in their 
approach, and then retire within the redoubt, which was 
defended by a deep intrenchment, boarded and fraised. 

Donop led on his troops in gallant style, under cover of 
a heavy fire from his battery. They advanced in two col- 
umns, to attack the outworks in two places. As they ad- 
vanced, they were excessively galled by a flanking fire from 
the American galleys and batteries, and by sharp volleys 
from the outworks. The latter, however, as had been con- 
certed, were quickly abandoned by the garrison. The enemy 

Cife of U/asl?in<$ton 61 

entered at two places, and, imagining the day their own, 
the two columns pushed on with shouts to storm different 
parts of the redoubt. As yet no troops were to be seen ; but 
as one of the columns approached the redoubt on the north 
side, a tremendous discharge of grape-shot and musketry 
burst forth from the embrasures in front and a half -masked 
battery on the left. The slaughter was prodigious ; the col- 
umn was driven back in confusion. Count Donop, with the 
other column, in attempting the south side of the redoubt, 
had passed the abatis; some of his men had traversed the 
fosse ; others had clambered over the pickets, when a similar 
tempest of artillery and musketry burst upon them. Some 
were killed on the spot, many were wounded, and the rest 
were driven out. Donop himself was wounded, and re- 
mained on the spot ; Lieutenant-colonel Mingerode, the sec- 
ond in command, was also dangerously wounded. Several 
other of the best officers were slain or disabled. Lieutenant- 
colonel Linsing, the oldest remaining officer, endeavored to 
draw off the troops in good order, but in vain ; they retreated 
in confusion, hotly pursued, and were again cut up in their 
retreat by the flanking fire from the galleys and floating 

The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded in this brief 
but severe action was about four hundred men. That of the 
Americans, eight killed and twenty-nine wounded. 

As Captain Mauduit Duplessis was traversing the scene 
of slaughter after the repulse, he was accosted by a voice 
from among the slain: "Whoever you are, draw me hence." 
It was the unfortunate Count Donop. Duplessis had him 
conveyed to a house near the fort, where every attention 
warn paid to hifl comfort. He languished for three days, 
during which Duplessis was continually at his bedside. 

62 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii?<$toi) Irving 

"This is finishing a noble career early,' ' said the count sadly. 
as he found his death approaching—then, as if conscious of 
the degrading service in which he had fallen, hired out by 
his prince to aid a foreign power in quelling the brave strug- 
gle of a people for their liberty, and contrasting it with that 
in which the chivalrous youth by his bedside was engaged — 
" I die," added he bitterly, "the victim of my ambition and 
of the avarice of my sovereign,," * He was but thirty-seven 
years of age at the time of his death. 

According to the plan of the enemy, Fort Mifflin, opposite 
to Fort Mercer, was to have been attacked at the same time 
by water. The force employed was the "Augusta" of sixty- 
four guns; the "Roebuck" of forty-four, two frigates, the 
"Merlin" sloop of eighteen guns, and a galley. They forced 
their way through the lower line of chevaux-de-f rise ; but 
the "Augusta" and "Merlin" ran aground below the second 
line, and every effort to get them off proved fruitless. To 
divert attention from their situation, the other vessels drew 
as near to Fort Mifflin as they could, and opened a cannon- 
ade; but the obstructions in the river had so altered the 
channel that they could not get within very effective dis- 
tance. They kept up a fire upon the fort throughout the 
evening, and recommenced it early in the morning, as did 
likewise the British batteries on the Pennsylvania shore; 
hoping that under cover of it the ships might be got off. A 
strong adverse wind, however, kept the tide from rising 
sufficiently to float them. 

The Americans discovered their situation, and sent down 
four fire-ships to destroy them, but without effect. A heavy 
fire was now opened upon them from the galleys and float • 

* De Chastellux, vol. i., p. 266. 

Cife of U/2iSi)iT)Qt0T) 63 

ing batteries. It was warmly returned. In the course of 
the action, a red-hot shot set the " Augusta" on fire. It was 
impossible to check the flames. All haste was made with 
boats to save the crew, while the other ships drew off as fast 
as possible to get out of the reach of the explosion. She blew 
up, however, while the second lieutenant, the chaplain, the" 
gunner, and several of the crew were yet on board, most of 
whom perished. The "Merlin" was now set on fire and 
abandoned; the "Roebuck" and the other vessels dropped 
down the river, and the attack on Fort Mifflin was given up. 
These signal repulses of the enemy had an animating 
effect on the public mind, and were promptly noticed by 
Congress. Colonel Greene, who commanded at Fort Mer- 
cer, Lieutenant-colonel Smith of Maryland, who commanded 
at Fort Mifflin, and Commodore Hazelwood, who commanded 
the galleys, received the thanks of that body; and subse- 
quently a sword was voted to each as a testimonial of dis- 
tinguished merit. 


De Kalb commissioned Major-General — Pretensions of Conway — 
Thwarted by Washington — Conway Cabal — Gates remiss in 
Correspondence — Dilatory in forwarding Troops — Mission of 
Hamilton to Gates — Wilkinson Bearer of dispatches to Congress 
— A Tardy Traveler — His Reward — Conway Correspondence de- 
tected — Washington's Apology for his Army 

We have heretofore had occasion to advert to the an- 
noyances and perplexities occasioned to Washington by the 
claims and pretensions of foreign officers who had entered 
into the service. Among the officers who came out with 
Lafayette was the Baron de Kalb, a German by birth, but 

64 U/or^s of U/a8^iQ($tor) Iruir)<$ 

who had long been employed in the French service, and 
though a silver-haired veteran, sixty years of age, was yet 
fresh and active and vigorous ; which some attributed to his 
being a rigid water drinker. In the month of September, 
Congress had given him the commission of major-general, 
to date with that of Lafayette. 

This instantly produced a remonstrance from Brigadier 
general Conway, the Gallic Hibernian, of whom we have 
occasionally made mention, who considered himself slighted 
and forgot, in their giving a superior rank to his own to a 
person who had not rendered the cause the least service, and 
who had been his inferior in France. He claimed, therefore, 
for himself, the rank of major-general, and was supported in 
his pretensions by persons both in and out of Congress ; espe- 
cially by Mifflin, the quartermaster-general. 

Washington had already been disgusted by the overween- 
ing presumption of Conway, and was surprised to hear that 
his application was likely to be successful. He wrote, on 
the 17th of October, to Richard Henry Lee, then in Congress, 
warning him that such an appointment would be as unfortu- 
nate a measure as ever was adopted — one that would give a 
fatal blow to the existence of the army. "Upon so interest- 
ing a subject," observes he, "I must speak plainly. The 
duty I owe my country, the ardent desire I have to promote 
its true interests, and justice to individuals, require this of 
me. General Conway's merit as an officer, and his impor- 
tance in this army, exist more in his own imagination than 
in reality. For it is a maxim with him to leave no service 
of his own untold, nor to want anything which is to be ob- 
tained by importunity. ... I would ask why the youngest 
brigadier in the service should be put over the heads of the 
oldest, and thereby take rank and command of gentlemen 

Cife of U/asr>in<$tor; 65 

who but yesterday were his seniors ; gentlemen who, as I 
will be bound to say in behalf of some of them at least, are 
of sound judgment and unquestionable bravery. . . . This 
truth I am well assured of, that they will not serve under 
him. I leave you to guess, therefore, at the situation this 
army would be in at so important a crisis, if this event should 
take place." 

This opposition to his presumptuous aspirations at once 
threw Conway into a faction forming under the auspices of 
General Mifflin. This gentleman had recently tendered his 
resignation of the commission of major-general and quarter- 
master-general on the plea of ill-health, but was busily en- 
gaged in intrigues against the commander-in-chief, toward 
whom he had long cherished a secret hostility. Conway 
now joined with him heart and hand, and soon became so 
active and prominent a member of the faction that it ac- 
quired the name of Conway's Cabal. The object was to 
depreciate the military character of Washington, in compari- 
son with that of Gates, to whom was attributed the whole 
success of the Northern campaign. Gates was perfectly 
ready for such an elevation. He was intoxicated by his 
good fortune, and seemed to forget that he had reaped where 
he had not sown, and that the defeat of Burgoyne had been 
insured by plans concerted and put in operation before his 
arrival in the Northern Department. 

In fact, in the excitement of his vanity, Gates appears 
to have forgotten that there was a commander-in-chief, to 
whom he was accountable. He neglected to send him any 
-patch on the subject of the surrender of Burgoyne, con- 
iting himself with sending one to Congress, then sitting at 
Yorktown. Washington was left to hear of the important 
event by casual rumor, and was for several days in anxious 

(56 U/orKs of XJJa&\)\r)$tOT) Irvir>$ 

uncertainty, until he received a copy of the capitulation in a 
letter from General Putnam. 

Gates was equally neglectful to inform him of the dispo- 
sition he intended to make of the army under his command. 
He delayed even to forward Morgan's rifle corps, though 
their services were no longer needed in his camp, and were 
so much required in the South. It was determined, there- 
fore, in a council of war, that one of Washington's staff 
should be sent to Gates to represent the critical state of 
affairs, and that a large re-enforcement from the Northern 
army would, in all probability, reduce General Howe to the 
same situation with Burgoyne, should he remain in Phila- 
delphia, without being able to remove the obstructions in the 
Delaware and open a free communication with his shipping. 

Colonel Alexander Hamilton, his youthful but intelligent 
aid-de-camp, was charged with this mission. He bore a let- 
ter from Washington to Gates, dated October 30th, of which 
the following is an exact : 

"By this opportunity I do myself the pleasure to con- 
gratulate you on the signal success of the army under your 
command, in compelling General Burgoyne and his whole 
force to surrender themselves prisoners of war; an event that 
does the highest honor to the American arms, and which, I 
hope, will be attended with the most extensive and happy 
consequences. At the same time, I cannot but regret that 
a matter of such magnitude, and so interesting to our gen 
eral operations, should have reached me by report only; or 
through the channel of letters not bearing that authentic- 
ity which the importance of it required, and which it would 
have received by a line under your signature stating the 
simple fact." 

Such was the calm and dignified notice of an instance of 

Cife of U/asl?ii><$tor> 67 

official disrespect, almost amounting to insubordination. It 
is doubtful whether Gates, in his state of mental efferves- 
cence, felt the noble severity of the rebuke. 

The officer whom Gates had employed as bearer of his 
dispatch to Congress was Wilkinson, his adjutant-general 
and devoted sycophant : a man at once pompous and servile. 
He was so long on the road that the articles of the treaty, 
according to his own account, reached the grand army be- 
fore he did the Congress. Even after his arrival at York- 
town he required three days to arrange his papers, prepar- 
ing to deliver them in style. At length, eighteen days after 
the surrender of Burgoyne had taken place, he formally laid 
the documents concerning it before Congress, preluding them 
with a message in the name of Gates, but prepared the day 
before by himself, and following them up by comments, ex- 
planatory and eulogistic of his own. 

He evidently expected to produce a great effect by this 
rhetorical display, and to be signally rewarded for his good 
tidings; but Congress were as slow in expressing their sense 
of his services as he had been in rendering them. He swelled 
and chafed under this neglect, but affected to despise it. In 
a letter to his patron, Gates, he observes: "I have not been 
honored with any mark of distinction from Congress. In- 
deed, should I receive no testimony of their approbation of 
my conduct, I shall not be mortified. My hearty contempt 
of the world will shield me from such pitiful sensations. " * 

A proposal was at length made in Congress that a sword 
should be voted to him as the bearer of such auspicious 
tidings: upon which Dr. Witherspoon, a shrewd Scot, ex- 
claimed, "I think ye'll better gie the lad a pair of spurs." 

* Gates's Papers, N. Y. Hist. Library. 

68 U/or^s of \JJa&fyr)$toT) Iruir)$ 

A few days put an end to Wilkinson's suspense, and 
probably reconciled him to the world; he was breveted a 
brigadier-general . 

A fortuitous circumstance, which we shall explain here- 
after, apprised Washington about this time that a corre- 
spondence, derogatory to his military character and conduct, 
was going on between General Conway and General Gates. 
It was a parallel case with Lee's correspondence of the pre- 
ceding year; and Washington conducted himself in it with 
the same dignified forbearance, contenting himself with let- 
ting Conway know, by the following brief note, dated No- 
vember 9th, that his correspondence was detected. 

"Sir — A letter which I received last night contained the 
following paragraph — 'In a letter from General Conway to 
General Gates, he says, "Heaven has determined to save 
your country, or a weak general and bad counselors would 
have ruined it." ' 

"I am, sir, your humble servant, 

"George Washington," 

The brevity of this note rendered it the more astounding. 
It was a hand-grenade thrown into the midst of the cabal. 
The effect upon other members we shall show hereafter. It 
seems, at first, to have prostrated Conway. An epistle of 
his friend Mifrlin to Gates intimates that Conway endeav- 
ored to palliate to Washington the censorious expressions in 
his letter, by pleading the careless freedom of language in- 
dulged in familiar letter-writing; no other record of such 
explanation remains, and that probably was not received as 
satisfactory. Certain it is, he immediately sent in his resig- 
nation. To some he alleged, as an excuse for resigning, the 
disparaging way in which he had been spoken of by some 

Cife of U/asf?ii?<$tor) 69 

members of Congress ; to others he observed that the cam- 
paign was at an end, and there was a prospect of a French 
war. The real reason he kept to himself, and Washington 
suffered it to remain a secret. His resignation, however, 
was not accepted by Congress ; on the contrary, he was sup- 
ported by the cabal, and was advanced to further honors, 
which we shall specify hereafter. 

In the meantime, the cabal went on to make invidious 
comparisons between the achievements of the two armies, 
deeply derogatory to that under Washington. Publicly, he 
took no notice of them ; but they drew from him the follow- 
ing apology for his army in a noble and characteristic letter 
to his friend, the celebrated Patrick Henry, then Governor 
of Virginia. "The design of this," writes he, "is only to 
inform you, and with great truth I can do it, strange as it 
may seem, that the army which I have had under my imme- 
diate command has not at any one time, since General Howe's 
landing at the Head of Elk, been equal in point of numbers 
to his.. In ascertaining this, I do not confine myself to Con- 
tinental troops, but comprehend militia. The disaffected 
and lukewarm in this State, in whom unhappily it too much 
abounds, taking advantage of the distraction in the govern- 
ment, prevented those vigorous exertions which an invaded 
State ought to have yielded. . . . I was left to fight two 
battles, in order, if possible, to save Philadelphia, with less 
numbers than composed the army of my antagonist, while 
the world has given us at least double. This impression, 
though mortifying in some points of view, I have been 
obliged to encourage; because, next to being strong, it is 
best to be thought so by the enemy; and to this cause, 
principally, I think is to be attributed the slow movements 
of < foneraJ Howe. 

70 U/or^s of U/a8^ip<$tor) IrviqQ 

" How different the case in the Northern department 2 
There the States of New York and New England, resolving 
to crush Burgoyne, continued pouring in their troops till the 
surrender of that army, at which time not less than fourteen 
thousand militia, as I have been informed, were actually in 
General Gates's camp, and those composed, for the most 
part, of the best yeomanry of the country, well armed, and 
in many instances supplied with provisions of their own 
carrying. Had the same spirit pervaded the people of this 
and the neighboring States, we might before this time have 
had General Howe nearly in the situation of General Bur- 
goyne. . . . 

' ' My own difficulties, in the course of the campaign, have 
been not a little increased by the extra aid of Continental 
troops, which the gloomy prospect of our affairs in the North 
immediately after the reduction of Ticonderoga induced me 
to spare from this army. But it is to be hoped that all will 
yet end well. If the cause is advanced, indifferent is 


We have put the last sentence in capitals, for it speaks 
the whole soul of Washington. Glory with him is a second- 
ary consideration. Let those who win wear the laurel — 
sufficient for him is the advancement of the cause. 


We subjoin an earnest appeal of Washington to Thomas 
Wharton, President of Pennsylvania, on the 17th of October, 
urging him to keep up the quota of troops demanded of the 
State by Congress, and to furnish additional aid. "I assure 
you, sir," writes he, "it is a matter of astonishment to every 
part of the continent to hear that Pennsylvania, the most 

Cife of \lf astyvqtoT) 7l 

opulent and populous of all the States, has but twelve hun- 
dred militia in the field, at a time when the enemy are en- 
deavoring to make themselves completely masters of, and 
to fix their quarters in, her capital." And Major-general 
Armstrong, commanding the Pennsylvania militia, writes at 
the same time to the Council of his State: "Be not deceived 
with wrong notions of General Washington's numbers; be 
assured he wants your aid. Let the brave step forth, their 
example will animate the many. You all speak well of our 
commander-in-chief at a distance; don't you want to see him 
and pay him one generous, one martial visit, when kindly 
invited to his camp near the end of a long campaign? There 
you will see for yourselves the unremitting zeal and toils of 
all the day and half the night, multiplied into years, without 
seeing house or home of his own, without murmur or com- 
plaint; but believes and calls this arduous task the service 
of his country and of his God." 


Further Hostilities on the Delaware — Fort Mifflin attacked — Bravely 
defended — Reduced — Mission of Hamilton to Gates — Visits the 
Camps of Governor Clinton and Putnam on the Hudson — Put- 
nam on his Hobby-Horse — Difficulties in procuring Re-enforce- 
ments— Intrigues of the Cabal — Letters of Lovell and Mifflin to 
Gates— The Works at Red Bank destroyed — The Enemy in Pos- 
session of the Delaware 

The non-arrival of re-enforcements from the Northern 
army continued to embarrass Washington's operations. The 
enemy were making preparations for further attempts upon 
Forts Mercer and Mifflin. General Howe was constructing 
redoubts and batteries on Province Island, on the we&\ side 
of the Delaware, within five hundred yards of Fort Mifflin, 
and mounting them with heavy cannon. Washington eon- 

72 U/orl^s of U/asi?ir)$toi> In/ir^o" 

suited with his general officers what was to be done. Had 
the army received the expected re-enforcements from the 
North it might have detached sufficient force to the west side 
of the Schuylkill to dislodge the enemy from Province Island ; 
but at present it would require almost the whole of the army 
for the purpose. This would leave the public stores at 
Easton, Bethlehem and Allen town uncovered, as well as 
several of the hospitals. It would also leave the post at Red 
Bank unsupported, through which Fort Mifflin was re-en- 
forced and supplied. It was determined, therefore, to await 
the arrival of the expected re-enforcements from the North 
before making any alteration in the disposition of the army. 
In the meantime, the garrisons of Forts Mercer and Mifflin 
were increased, and General Varnum was stationed at Red 
Bank with his brigade, to be at hand to render re-enforce- 
ments to either of them as occasion might require. 

On the 10th of November, General Howe commenced 
a heavy fire upon Fort Mifflin from his batteries, which 
mounted eighteen, twenty-four, and thirty-two pounders. 
Colonel Smith doubted the competency of his feeble garrison 
to defend the works against a force so terribly effective, and 
wrote to Washington accordingly. The latter in reply repre- 
sented the great importance of the works, and trusted they 
would be maintained to the last extremity. General Varnum 
was instructed to send over fresh troops occasionally to 
relieve those in the garrison, and to prevail upon as many 
as possible of the militia to go over. The latter could be 
employed at night upon the works to repair the damage 
sustained in the day, and might, if they desired it, return 
to Red Bank in the morning. 

"Washington's orders and instructions were faithfully 
obeyed. Major Fleury, a brave French officer, already 

Cife of U/asbii)<$tor) 73 

mentioned, acquitted himself with intelligence and spirit 
as engineer; but an incessant cannonade and bombardment 
for several days defied all repairs. The block-houses were 
demolished, the palisades beaten down, the guns dismounted, 
the barracks reduced to ruins. Captain Treat, a young offi- 
cer of great merit, who commanded the artillery, was killed, 
as were several non-commissioned officers and privates; and 
a number were wounded. 

The survivors who were not wounded were exhausted 
by want of sleep, hard duty, and constant exposure to the 
rain. Colonel Smith himself was disabled by severe con- 
tusions, and obliged to retire to Red Bank. 

The fort was in ruins; there was danger of its being 
carried by storm, but the gallant Fleury thought it might 
yet be defended with the aid of fresh troops. Such were 
furnished from Varnum's brigade. Lieutenant-colonel Rus- 
sell, of the Connecticut line, replaced Colonel Smith. He, 
in his turn, was obliged to relinquish the command, through 
fatigue and ill health, and was succeeded by Major Thayer, 
of Rhode Island, aided by Captain (afterward Commodore) 
Talbot, who had distinguished himself in the preceding year 
by an attack on a ship-of-war in the Hudson. The present 
was an occasion that required men of desperate valor. 

On the fourth day the enemy brought a large Indiaman, 
cut down to a floating battery, to bear upon the works; but 
though it opened a terrible fire, it was silenced before night. 
The next day several ships of war got within gun-shot. Two 
prepared to attack it in front, others brought their guns to 
bear on Fort Mercer ; while two made their way into the 
narrow channel between Mud Island and the Pennsylvania 
shore, to operate with the British batteries erected then 

At a concerted signal a cannonade was opened from all 
Vol. XIV.— ***4 

74 U/orl^s of \JJa&tyr)$tOT) IruiQO" 

quarters. The heroic little garrison stood the fire without 
flinching; the danger, however, was growing imminent. 
The batteries on Province Island enfiladed the works. The 
ships in the inner channel approached so near as to throw 
hand-grenades into the fort, while marines stationed in the 
round-tops stood ready to pick off any of the garrison that 
came in sight. 

The scene now became awful ; incessant firing from ships, 
forts, gondolas and floating batteries, with clouds of sulphur- 
ous smoke and the deafening thunder of cannon. Before 
night there was hardly a fortification to defend; palisades 
were shivered, guns dismounted, the whole parapet leveled. 
There was terrible slaughter; most of the company of artil- 
lery were destroyed. Fleury himself was wounded. Cap- 
tain Talbot received a wound in the wrist, but continued 
bravely fighting until disabled by another wound in the hip.* 

To hold out longer was impossible. Colonel Thayer 
made preparations to evacuate the fort in the night. Every- 
thing was removed in the evening that could be conveyed 
away without too much exposure to the murderous fire from 
the round-tops. The wounded were taken over to Red Bank 
accompanied by part of the garrison. Thayer remained with 
forty men until eleven o'clock, when they set fire to what 
was combustible of the fort they had so nobly defended, 
and crossed to Red Bank by the light of its flames. 

The loss of this fort was deeply regretted by Washington, 
though he gave high praise to the officers and men of the 
garrison. Colonel Smith was voted a sword by Congress, 
and Fleury received the commission of lieutenant-colonel. 

Washington still hoped to keep possession of Red Bank, 

* Life of Talbot, by Henry T. Tuckerman, p. 31. 

Cife of U/asI?ii?$t09 75 

and thereby prevent the enemy from weighing the chevaux- 
de-f rise before the frost obliged their ships to quit the river. 
"I am anxiously waiting the arrival of the troops from the 
northward," writes he, "who ought, from the time they had 
my orders, to have been here before this. Colonel Hamilton, 
one of my aides, is up the North River, doing all he can to 
push them forward, but he writes me word that he finds many 
unaccountable delays thrown in his way. The wantof these 
troops has embarrassed all my measures exceedingly.' 5 

The delays in question will best be explained by a few 
particulars concerning the mission of Colonel Hamilton. On 
his way to the headquarters of Gates, at Albany, he found 
Governor Clinton and General Putnam encamped on the 
opposite sides of the Hudson, just above the Highlands; 
the governor at New Windsor, Putnam at Fishkill. About 
a mile from New Windsor, Hamilton met Morgan and his 
riflemen, early in the morning of the 2d of November, on 
the march for Washington's camp, having been thus tardily 
detached by Gates. Hamilton urged him to hasten on with 
all possible dispatch, which he promised to do. The colonel 
had expected to find matters in such a train that he would 
have little to do but hurry on ample re-enforcements already 
on the march; whereas, he found that a large part of the 
Northern army was to remain in and about Albany, about 
four thousand men to be spared to the commander-in-chief; 
the rest were to be stationed on the east side of the Hudson 
with Putnam, who had held a council of war how to dispose 
of them. The old general, in fact, had for some time past 
been haunted by a project of an attack upon New York, in 
which he had twice been thwarted, and for which the time 
seemed propitious, now that most of the British troops were 
reported to have gone from New York to re-enforce General 

76 U/or^s of U/a8l?ii7<$toi) Irv/ii)©; 

Howe. Hamilton rather disconcerted his project by direct- 
ing him, in Washington's name, to hurry forward two Con- 
tinental brigades to the latter, together with Warner's militia 
brigade ; also, to order to Red Bank a body of Jersey militia 
about to cross to Peekskill. 

Having given these directions, Hamilton hastened on to 
Albany. He found still less disposition on the part of Gates 
to furnish the troops required. There was no certainty, he 
said, that Sir Henry Clinton had gone to join General Howe. 
There was a possibility of his returning up the river, which 
would expose the arsenal at Albany to destruction, should 
that city be left bare of troops. The New England States, 
too, would be left open to the ravages and depredations of 
the enemy; besides, it would put it out of his power to 
attempt anything against Ticonderoga, an undertaking of 
great importance in which he might engage in the winter. 
In a word, Gates had schemes of his own, to which those of 
the commander-in-chief must give way. 

Hamilton felt, he says, how embarrassing a task it was 
for one so young as himself to oppose the opinions and plans 
of a veteran, whose successes had elevated him to the high- 
est importance ; though he considered his reasonings unsub- 
stantial, and merely calculated to "catch the Eastern peo- 
ple." It was with the greatest difficulty he prevailed on 
Gates to detach the brigades of Poor and Patterson to the 
aid of the commander in-chief ; and, finding re-enforcements 
fall thus short from this quarter, he wrote to Putnam to for- 
ward an additional thousand of Continental troops from his 
camp. "I doubt," writes he subsequently to Washington, 
" whether you would have had a man from the Northern 
army if the whole could have been kept at Albany with any 
decency. ' 

Cife of U/asl?ii?<$toi) 77 

Having concluded his mission to General Gates, Hamil- 
ton returned to the camp of Governor Clinton. The worthy- 
governor seemed the general officer best disposed in this 
quarter to promote the public weal, independent of personal 
considerations. He had recently expressed his opinion to 
General Gates that the army under Washington ought at 
present to be the chief object of attention, "for on its success 
everything worth regarding depended." 

The only need of troops in this quarter at present was 
to protect the country from little plundering parties, and to 
carry on the works necessary for the defense of the river. 
The latter was the governor's main thought. He was eager 
to reconstruct the fortresses out of which he had been so 
forcibly ejected ; or rather to construct new ones in a better 
place about West Point, where obstructions were again to be 
extended across the river.* 

Putnam, on the contrary, wished to keep as much force as 
possible under his control. The old general was once more 
astride of what Hamilton termed his "hobby-horse," an ex- 
pedition against New York. He had neglected to forward 
the troops which had been ordered to the South : not the 
least attention had been paid by him to Hamilton's order 
from Albany, in Washington's name, for the detachment of 
an additional thousand of troops. Some, which had come 
down from Albany, had been marched by him to Tany- 

* Governor Clinton and myself have been down to view 
the forts, and are both of opinion that a boom, thrown ac 
at Fort Constitution, and a battery on each side of the river, 
would answer a much better purpose than at Fort Montgoni- 
as the garrison would be re-enforced by militia with 
more expedition, and the ground much more definable (de- 
fensible?).— Putnam to Washington, 7th November, 1777. 
— Sparks' Cor. of the Rev., ii. 30. 

78 U/oii^s of U/as^io^tor; Iruio^ 

town : he himself had reconnoitered the country almost down 
to King's Bridge, and was now advanced to the neighbor- 
hood of White Plains. " Everything, " writes Hamilton, "is 
sacrificed to the whim of taking New York." The young 
colonel was perplexed how to proceed with the brave -hearted, 
but somewhat wrong-headed old general ; who was in as bel- 
licose a mood, now that he was mounted on his hobby, as 
when at the siege of Boston he mounted the prize mortar 
' 'Congress" and prayed for gunpowder. 

Hamilton, in his perplexity, consulted Governor Clinton. 
The latter agreed with him that an attempt against New 
York would be a mere "suicidal parade," wasting time and 
men. The city at present was no object, even if it could be 
taken, and to take it would require men that could ill be 
spared from more substantial purposes. The governor, how- 
ever, understood the character and humors of his old coad- 
jutor, and, in his downright way, advised Hamilton to send 
an order in the most emphatical terms to General Putnam, 
to dispatch all the Continental troops under him to "Wash- 
ington's assistance, and to detain the militia instead of them. 

A little of the governor's own hobby, by the way, showed 
itself in his councils. "He thinks," writes Hamilton, "that 
there is no need of more Continental troops here than a few 
to give a spur to the militia in working upon the fortifi- 

The "emphatical" letter of Hamilton had the effect the 
governor intended. It unhorsed the belligerent veteran 
when in full career. The project against New York was 
again given up, and the re-enforcements reluctantly ordered 
to the South. "I am sorry to say," writes Hamilton, "the 
disposition for marching in the officers, and men in general, 
of these troops, does not keep pace with my wishes or the 

Cife of U/asl?in<$ton ?9 

exigency of the occasion. They have unfortunately imbibed 
an idea that they have done their part of the business of the 
campaign, and are now entitled to repose. This and the 
want of pay make them adverse to a long march at this 
advanced season." 

Governor Clinton borrowed six thousand dollars for 
Hamilton to enable him to put some of the troops in mo- 
tion; indeed, writes the colonel, he has been the only man 
who has done anything to remove these difficulties. Hamil- 
ton advised that the command of the post should be given to 
the governor, if he would accept of it, and Putnam should 
be recalled; " whose blunders and caprices," said he, "are 

Washington, however, knew too well the innate worth 
and sterling patriotism of the old general to adopt a measure 
that might deeply mortify him. The enterprise, too, on 
which the veteran had been bent, was one which he himself 
had approved of when suggested under other circumstances. 
He contented himself, therefore, with giving him a repri- 
mand, in the course of a letter, for his present dilatoriness 
in obeying the orders of his commander-in-chief. "I cannot 
but say," writes he, "there has been more delay in the 
march of the troops than I think necessary; and I could 
wish that in future my orders may be immediately complied 
with, without arguing upon the propriety of them. If any 
accident ensues from obeying them the fault will be upon 
me, not upon you." 

Washington found it more necessary than usual, at this 
moment, to assert his superior command, from the attempts 
which were being made to weaken his stand in the public 

imation. Still he was not aware of the extent of tho in- 
trigues that were in progress around him, in which we be- 

80 U/orl^s of U/ast?ir)<$tOD Iruir?<$ 

lieve honest Putnam had no share. There was evidently a 
similar game going on with that which had displaced the 
worthy Schuyler. The surrender of Burgoyne, though 
mainly the result of "Washington's farseeing plans, had 
suddenly trumped up Gates into a quasi rival. A letter 
written to Gates at the time, and still existing among his 
papers, lays open the spirit of the cabal. It is without sig- 
nature, but in the handwriting of James Lovell, member of 
Congress from Massachusetts; the same who had supported 
Gates in opposition to Schuyler. The following are extracts : 
44 You have saved our Northern Hemisphere; and in spite of 
consummate and repeated blundering you have changed the 
condition of the Southern campaign, on the part of the ene- 
my, from offensive to defensive. . . . The campaign here 
must soon close ; if our troops are obliged to retire to Lan- 
caster, Reading, Bethlehem, etc., for winter quarters, and the 
country below is laid open to the enemy's flying parties, 
great and very general will be the murmur — so great, so 
general, that nothing inferior to a commander-in-chief will 
be able to resist the mighty torrent of public clamor and 
public vengeance. 

"We have had a noble army melted down by ill-judged 
marches — marches that disgrace the authors and directors, 
and which have occasioned the severest and most just sar- 
casm and contempt of our enemies. 

"How much are you to be envied, my dear general! 
How different your conduct and your fortune! 

"A letter from Colonel Mifflin, received at the writing 
of the last paragraph, gives me the disagreeable intelligence 
of the loss of our fort on the Delaware. You must know 
the consequences — loss of the river boats, galleys, ships of 
war, etc. ; good winter quarters to the enemy , and a general 

Cife of U/asfyio^toi) 81 

retreat, or ill-judged, blind attempt on our part to save a 
gone character. 

"Conway, Spotswood, Conner, Ross, and Mifflin re- 
signed, and many other brave and good officers are pre- 
paring their letters to Congress on the same subject. In 
short, this army will be totally lost, unless you come down 
and collect the virtuous band who wish to fight under your 
banner, and with their aid save the Southern Hemisphere. 
Prepare yourself for a jaunt to this place — Congress must 
send for you." * 

Under such baleful supervision, of which, as we have 
observed, he was partly conscious, but not to its full extent, 
Washington was obliged to carry on a losing game, in which 
the very elements seemed to conspire against him. 

In the meantime, Sir William Howe was following up 
the reduction of Fort Mifflin by an expedition against Fort 
Mercer, which still impeded the navigation of the Delaware. 
On the 17th of November, Lord Cornwallis was detached 
with two thousand men to cross from Chester into the Jer- 
seys, where he would be joined by a force advancing from 
New York. 

Apprised of this movement, Washington detached Gen- 
eral Huntington, with a brigade, to join Varnum at Red 
Bank. General Greene was also ordered to repair thither 
with his division, and an express was sent off to General 
Glover, who was on his way through the Jerseys with his 
brigade, directing him to file off to the left toward the same 
point. These troops, with such militia as could be collected, 
Washington hoped would bo sufficient to save the fort. Be- 
fore they could form a junction, however, and reach their 

* Gates's Papers, N. Y. Hist. Soc. Lib. 

82 U/orl^s of U/a8l?iQ$toi? Iruip^ 

destination, Cornwallis appeared before it. A defense against 
such superior force was hopeless. The works were aban- 
doned; they were taken possession of by the enemy, who 
proceeded to destroy them. After the destruction had been 
accomplished, the re-enforcements from the North, so long 
and so anxiously expected, and so shamefully delayed, made 
their appearance. "Had they arrived but ten days sooner," 
writes Washington to his brother, "it would, I think, have 
put it in my power to save Fort Mifflin, which defended the 
chevaux-de-frise, and consequently have rendered Phila- 
delphia a very ineligible situation for the enemy this win- 

The troops arrived in ragged plight, owing to the de- 
rangement of the commissariat. A part of Morgan's rifle 
corps was absolutely unable to take the field for want of 
shoes, and such was the prevalent want in this particular 
that ten dollars reward was offered in general orders for a 
model of the best substitute for shoes that could be made out 
of raw hides. 

The evil which Washington had so anxiously striven to 
prevent had now been effected. The American vessels sta- 
tioned in the river had lost all protection. Some of the 
galleys escaped past the batteries of Philadelphia in a fog 
and took refuge in the upper part of the Delaware; the rest 
were set on fire by their crews and abandoned. 

The enemy were now in possession of the river, but it 
was too late in the season to clear away the obstructions and 
open a passage for the large ships. All that could be effected 
at present was to open a sufficient channel for transports and 
vessels of easy burden to bring provisions and supplies for 
the army. 

Washington advised the navy board, now that the enemy 

Cife of U7asr;in<$ton 83 

had the command of the river, to have all the American 
frigates scuttled and sunk immediately. The board objected 
to sinking them, but said they should be ballasted and 
plugged, ready to be sunk in case of attack. Washington 
warned them that an attack would be sudden so as to get 
possession of them before they could be sunk or destroyed. 
His advice and warning were unheeded; the consequence 
will hereafter be shown. 


Question of an Attack on Philadelphia — General Reed at Headquar- 
ters — Enemy's Works reconnoitered — Opinions in a Council of 
War — Exploit of Lafayette — Receives Command of a Division 
— Modification of the Board of War — Gates to Preside — Letter 
of Lovell — Sally Forth of General Howe — Evolutions and Skir- 
mishes — Conway Inspector- General — Consultation about Win- 
ter Quarters — Dreary March to Valley Forge — Hutting — Wash- 
ington's Vindicatory Letters — Retrospect of the Year 

On the evening of the 24th of November Washington 
reconnoitered, carefully and thoughtfully, the lines and 
defenses about Philadelphia, from the opposite side of the 
Schuylkill. His army was now considerably re-enforced; 
the garrison was weakened by the absence of a large body 
of troops under Lord Cornwallis in the Jerseys. Some of 
the general officers thought this an advantageous moment 
for an attack upon the city. Such was the opinion of Lord 
Stirling; and especially of General Wayne, Mad Anthony, 
as he was familiarly called, always eager for some daring 
enterprise. The recent victory at Saratoga had dazzled the 
public mind, and produced a general impatience for some- 
thing equally striking and effective in this quarter. R' 

84 U/or^s of U/asI?ir)$toi) Irv/ii}$ 

"Washington's former secretary, now a brigadier-general, 
shared largely in this feeling. He had written a letter to 
Gates, congratulating him on having ''reduced his proud 
and insolent enemy to the necessity of laying his arms at his 
feet" ; assuring him that it would "enroll his name with the 
happy few who shine in history, not as conquerors, but as 
distinguished generals. I have for some time," adds he, 
"volunteered with this army, which, notwithstanding the 
labors and efforts of its amiable chief, has yet gathered 
no laurels. " * 

Reed was actually at headquarters as a volunteer, again 
enjoying much of Washington's confidence, and anxious that 
he should do something to meet the public wishes. Wash- 
ington was aware of this prevalent feeling, and that it was 
much wrought on by the intrigues of designing men, and by 
the sarcasms of the press. He was now reconnoitering the 
enemy's works to judge of the policy of the proposed attack. 
"A vigorous exertion is under consideration," writes Reed; 
"God grant it may be successful!" f 

Everything in the neighborhood of the enemy's lines bore 
traces of the desolating hand of war. Several houses, owned 
probably by noted patriots, had been demolished; others 
burned. "Villas stood roofless; their doors and windows, 
and all the woodwork, had been carried off to make huts for 
the soldiery. Nothing but bare walls remained. Gardens 
had been trampled down and destroyed; not a fence nor 
fruit tree was to be seen. The gathering gloom of a No- 
vember evening heightened the sadness of this desolation. 

With an anxious eye Washington scrutinized the enemy's 

* Reed to Gates. Gates's Papers, 
f Reed to President Wharton. 

Cife of U/asr;iD<$toD 85 

works. They appeared to be exceedingly strong. A chain 
of redoubts extended along the most commanding ground 
from the Schuylkill to the Delaware. They were framed, 
planked, and of great thickness, and were surrounded by a 
deep ditch, inclosed and fraised. The intervals were filled 
with an abatis, in constructing which all the apple trees of 
the neighborhood, besides forest trees, had been sacrificed.* 

The idea of Lord Stirling and those in favor of an attack 
was, that it should be at different points at daylight, the 
main body to attack the lines to the north of the city, while 
Greene, embarking his men in boats at Dunk's Ferry, and 
passing down the Delaware, and Potter, with a body of 
Continentals and militia, moving down the west side of the 
Schuylkill, should attack the eastern and western fronts. 

Washington saw that there was an opportunity for a 
brilliant blow that might satisfy the impatience of the public, 
and silence the sarcasms of the press ; but he saw that it 
must be struck at the expense of a fearful loss of life. 

Returning to camp, he held a council of war of his prin- 
cipal officers, in which the matter was debated at great 
length and with some warmth, but without coming to a 
decision. At breaking up, Washington requested that each 
member of the council would give his opinion the next morn- 
ing in writing, and he sent off a messenger in the night for 
the written opinion of General Greene. 

Only four members of the council, Stirling, Wayne, Scott 
and Woodford, were in favor of an attack; of which Lord 
Stirling drew up the plan. Eleven (including Greene) were 
against it, objecting, among other things, that the enemy's 
lines were too strong and too well supported, and their force 

* Life and Cor. of Rood, vol. i., \>. 341. 

86 U/or^s of U/as^ir^toi} Irvir>$ 

too numerous, well disciplined and experienced, to be assailed 
without great loss and the hazard of a failure. 

Had Washington been actuated by mere personal ambi- 
tion and a passion for military fame, or had he yielded to 
the goadings of faction and the press, he might have disre- 
garded the loss and hazarded the failure ; but his patriotism 
was superior to his ambition ; he shrank from a glory that 
must be achieved at such a cost, and the idea of an attack 
was abandoned. 

General Reed, in a letter to Thomas Wharton, president 
of Pennsylvania, endeavors to prevent the caviling of that 
functionary and his co-legislators; who, though they had 
rendered very slender assistance in the campaign, were 
extremely urgent for some striking achievement. "From 
my own feelings," writes he, "I can easily judge of yours 
and the gentlemen round at the seeming inactivity of this 
army for so long a time. I know it is peculiarly irksome 
to the general, whose own judgment led to more vigorous 
measures; but there has been so great a majority of his 
officers opposed to every enterprising plan as fully justifies 
his conduct." At the same time Reed confesses that he 
himself concurs with the great majority, who deemed an 
attack upon Philadelphia too hazardous. 

A letter from General Greene, received about this time, 
gave Washington some gratifying intelligence about his 
youthful friend, the Marquis de Lafayette. Though not 
quite recovered from the wound received at the battle of 
Brandywine, he had accompanied General Greene as a vol- 
unteer in his expedition into the Jerseys, and had been 
indulged by him with an opportunity of gratifying his bellig- 
erent humor in a brush with Cornwallis's outposts. "The 
marquis," writes Greene, "with about four hundred militia 

Cife of U/asl?iD$tOD 87 

and the rifle corps, attacked the enemy's picket last evening, 
killed about twenty, wounded many more, and took about 
twenty prisoners. The marquis is charmed with the spirited 
behavior of the militia and rifle corps ; they drove the enemy 
above half a mile and kept the ground until dark. The 
enemy's picket consisted of about three hundred, and were 
re-enforced during the skirmish. The marquis is determined 
to be in the way of danger." * 

Lafayette himself, at the request of Greene, wrote an 
animated yet modest account of the affair to Washington. 
"I wish," observes he, "that this little success of ours may 
please you ; though a very trifling one, I find it very inter- 
esting on account of the behavior of our soldiers." f 

Washington had repeatedly written to Congress in favor 
of giving the marquis a command equal to his nominal rank, 
in consideration of his illustrious and important connections, 
the attachment he manifested to the cause, and the discretion 
and good sense he had displayed on various occasions. "I 
am convinced," said he, "he possesses a large share of that 
military ardor which generally characterizes the nobility of 
his country." 

Washington availed himself of the present occasion to 
support his former recommendations by transmitting to Con- 
gress an account of Lafayette's youthful exploit. He re- 
ceived, in return, an intimation from that body that it was 
their pleasure he should appoint the marquis to the command 
of a division in the Continental army. The division of Gen- 
eral Stephen at this time was vacant; that veteran officer, 
who had formerly won honor for himself in the French war, 

* Washington's Writings. Sparks, vol. v., p. 171. 
t Memoirs of Lafayette, vol. i., p. 122. 

88 U/or^s of U/asfyir^tor; Irvir;<$ 

having been dismissed for misconduct at the battle of Ger- 
mantown, the result of intemperate habits, into which he un- 
fortunately had fallen. Lafayette was forthwith appointed 
to the command of that division. 

At this juncture (November 27th), a modification took 
place in the Board of War indicative of the influence which 
was operating in Congress. It was increased from three 
to five members — General Mifflin, Joseph Trumbull, Richard 
Peters, Colonel Pickering, and last, though certainly not 
least, General Gates. Mifflin's resignation of the commis- 
sion of quartermaster-general had recently been accepted, 
but that of major-general was continued to him, though 
without pay. General Gates was appointed president of the 
board, and the President of Congress was instructed to 
express to him, in communicating the intelligence, the high 
sense which that body entertained of his abilities and peculiar 
fitness to discharge the duties of that important office, upon 
the right execution of which the success of the American 
cause so eminently depended ; and to inform him it was their 
intention to continue his rank as major-general, and that he 
might officiate at the board or in the field as occasion might 
require ; furthermore, that he should repair to Congress with 
all convenient dispatch, to enter upon the duties of his ap- 
pointment. It was evidently the idea of the cabal that Gates 
was henceforth to be the master spirit of the war. His friend 
Lovell, chairman of the committee of foreign relations, writes 
to him on the same day to urge him on. "We want you at 
different places, but we want you most near Germantown. 
Good God ! What a situation we are in ; how different from 
what might have been justly expected! You will be aston- 
ished when you know accurately what numbers have at one 
time and another been collected near Philadelphia, to wear 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$toi) 89 

out stockings, shoes and breeches. Depend upon it, for 
every ten soldiers placed under the command of our Fabius 
five recruits will be wanted annually during the war. The 
brave fellows at Fort Mifflin and Red Bank have despaired 
of succor and been obliged to quit. The naval departments 
have fallen into circumstances of seeming disgrace. Come 
to the Board of "War, if only for a short season. ... If it 
was not for the defeat of Burgoyne, and the strong appear- 
ances of a European war, our affairs are Fabiused into a 
very disagreeable posture."* 

While busy faction was thus at work, both in and out 
of Congress, to undermine the fame and authority of Wash- 
ington, General Howe, according to his own threat, was 
preparing to "drive him beyond the mountains." 

On the 4th of December, Captain Allen McLane, a vigi- 
lant officer already mentioned, of the Maryland line, brought 
word to headquarters that an attack was to be made that 
very night on the camp at White Marsh. Washington made 
his dispositions to receive the meditated assault, and, in the 
meantime, detached McLane with one hundred men to rec- 
onnoiter. The latter met the van of the enemy about eleven 
o'clock at night, on the German town road, attacked it at 
the Three Mile Run, forced it to change its line of march, 
and hovered about and impeded it throughout the night. 
About three o'clock in the morning the alarm-gun announced 
the approach of the enemy. They appeared at daybreak, 
and encamped on Chestnut Hill, within three miles of Wash- 
ington's right wing. Brigadier-general James Irvine, with 
six hundred of the Pennsylvania militia, was sent out to 
skirmish with their light advanced parties. He encountered 

* Gates's Papers, !N". Y. Hist. Soc. Lib. 

90 U/orl^s of U/as^io^tor) Iruio$ 

them at the foot of the hill, but after a short conflict, in 
which several were killed and wounded, his troops gave way 
and fled in all directions, leaving him and four or five of his 
men wounded on the field, who were taken prisoners. 

General Howe passed the day in reconnoitering, and at 
night changed his ground and moved to a hill on the left and 
within a mile of the American line. It was his wish to have 
a general action, but to have it on advantageous terms. He 
had scrutinized "Washington's position and pronounced it in- 
accessible. For three days he maneuvered to draw him from 
it, shifting his own position occasionally, but still keeping on 
advantageous ground. "Washington was not to be decoyed. 
He knew the vast advantages which superior science, dis- 
cipline and experience gave the enemy in open field fight, 
and remained within his lines. All his best officers approved 
of his policy. Several sharp skirmishes occurred at Edge 
Hill and elsewhere, in which Morgan's riflemen and the 
Maryland militia were concerned. There was loss on both 
sides, but the Americans gave way before a great superiority 
of numbers. 

In one of these skirmishes General Reed had a narrow 
escape. He was reconnoitering the enemy at Washington's 
request, when he fell in with some of the Pennsylvania 
militia who had been scattered and endeavored to rally and 
lead them forward. His horse was shot through the head 
and came with him to the ground; the enemy's flankers 
were running to bayonet him, as he was recovering from his 
fall, when Captain Allen McLane came up in time with 
his men to drive them off and rescue him. He was con- 
veyed from the field by a light-horseman.* 

* Life and Cor. of Reed, vol. i., p. 351. 

Cife of U/asl?in$tOQ 91 

On the 7th there was every appearance that Howe medi- 
tated an attack on the left wing. Washington's heart now 
beat high, and he prepared for a warm and decisive action. 
In the course of the day he rode through every brigade, 
giving directions how the attack was to be met, and exhort- 
ing his troops to depend mainly on the bayonet. His men 
were inspirited by his words, but still more by his looks, so 
calm and determined; for the soldier regards the demeanor 
more than the words of his general in the hour of peril. 

The day wore away with nothing but skirmishes, in 
which Morgan's riflemen, and the Maryland militia, under 
Colonel Gist, rendered good service. An attack was ex- 
pected in the night, or early in the morning; but no attack 
took place. The spirit manifested by the Americans in their 
recent contests had rendered the British commanders cautious. 

The next day, in the afternoon, the enemy were again 
in motion; but, instead of advancing, filed off to the left, 
halted, and lit up a long string of fires on the heights ; behind 
which they retreated, silently and precipitately, in the night. 
By the time Washington received intelligence of their move- 
ment they were in full march by two or three routes for 
Philadelphia. He immediately detached light parties to fall 
upon their rear, but they were too far on the way for any 
but light-horse to overtake them. 

An intelligent observer writes to President Wharton from 
the camp: "As all their movements, added to their repeated 
declarations of driving General Washington over the Blue 
Mountains, were calculated to assure us of their having 
come out with the determination to fight, it was thought 
prudent to keep our post upon the hills, near the church. I 
understand it was resolved, if they did not begin the attack 
>n, to have fought them at all events, it not being sup- 

92 U/orl^s of U/asfyiD^tOQ Iruir;©; 

posed that they could, consistent with their own feelings, 
have secretly stolen into the city so suddenly after so long 
gasconading on what they intended to do. ' ' * 

Here then was another occasion of which the enemies 
of Washington availed themselves to deride his cautious 
policy. Yet it was clearly dictated by true wisdom. His 
heart yearned for a general encounter with the enemy. In 
his dispatch to the President of Congress, he writes, "I sin- 
cerely wish that they had made an attack; as the issue in 
all probability, from the disposition of our troops and the 
strong situation of our camp, would have been fortunate and 
happy. At the same time I must add, that reason, prudence, 
and every principle of policy, forbade us from quitting our 
post to attack them. Nothing but success would have justi- 
fied the measure ; and this could not be expected from their 

At this time, one of the earliest measures recommended 
by the Board of War, and adopted by Congress, showed the 
increasing influence of the cabal ; two inspectors-general were 
to be appointed for the promotion of discipline and reforma- 
tion of abuses in the army ; and one of the persons chosen 
for this important office was Conway, with the rank, too, of 
major-general! This was tacitly in defiance of the opinion 
so fully expressed by Washington of the demerits of the man, 
and the ruinous effects to be apprehended from his promo- 
tion over the heads of brigadiers of superior claims. Con- 
way, however, was the secret colleague of Gates, and Gates 
was now the rising sun. 

Winter had now set in with all its severity. The troops, 
worn down by long and hard service, had need of repose. 

* Letter of Elias Boudinot, Commissary of Prisoners, to 
President Wharton. — Life and Cor. of J. Reed, vol. i., p. 351. 

Cife of U/asf?in<$toi) 93 

Poorly clad, also, and almost destitute of blankets, they 
required a warmer shelter than mere tents against the in- 
clemencies of the season. The nearest towns which would 
afford winter quarters were Lancaster, York, and Carlisle; 
but should the army retire to either of these, a large and 
fertile district would be exposed to be foraged by the foe, 
and its inhabitants, perhaps, to be dragooned into submission. 

Much anxiety was felt by the Pennsylvania Legislature 
on the subject, who were desirous that the army should 
remain in the field. General Reed, in a letter to the presi 
dent of that body, writes: "A line of winter quarters has 
been proposed and supported by some of his [Washington's] 
principal officers; but I believe I may assure you he will not 
come into it, but take post as near the enemy, and cover as 
much of the country as the nakedness and wretched condi- 
tion of some part of the army will admit. To keep the field 
entirely is impracticable, and so you would think if you 
saw the plight we were in. You will soon know the plan, 
and as it has been adopted principally upon the opinions of 
the gentlemen of this State, I hope it will give satisfaction 
to you and the gentlemen around you. If it is not doing 
what we would, it is doing what we can; and I must say 
the general has shown a truly feeling and patriotic respect 
for us on this occasion, in which you would agree with me, 
if you knew all the circumstances." 

The plan adopted by Washington, after hofdrng a council 
of war, and weighing the discordant opinions of his officers, 
waa to hut the army for the winter at Valley Forge, in 
Chester County, on the west side of the Schuylkill, about 
twenty miles from Philadelphia. Here he would be able to 
keop a vigilant eye on that city, and at the same time protect 
tent of country. 

94 U/orl^s of U/a8l?i r>$toi) Iruin$ 

Sad and dreary was the march to Valley Forge; un- 
cheered by the recollection of any recent triumph, as was 
the march to winter quarters in the preceding year. Hungry 
and cold were the poor fellows who had so long been keeping 
the field; for provisions were scant, clothing worn out, and 
so badly off were they for shoes that the footsteps of many 
might be tracked in blood. Yet at this very time we are 
told, " hogsheads of shoes, stockings, and clothing were lying 
at different places on the roads and in the woods, perishing 
for want of teams, or of money to pay the teamsters.'' * 

Such were the consequences of the derangement of the 

Arrived at Valley Forge on the 17th, the troops had still 
to brave the wintry weather in their tents, until they could 
cut down trees and construct huts for their accommodation. 
Those who were on the sick list had to seek temporary shelter 
wherever it could be found, among the farmers of the neigh- 
borhood. According to the regulations in the orderly book, 
each hut was to be fourteen feet by sixteen ; with walls of 
logs filled in with clay, six feet and a half high ; the fire- 
places were of logs plastered ; and logs split into rude planks 
or slabs furnished the roofing. A hut was allotted to twelve 
non-commissioned officers and soldiers. A general officer 
had a hut to himself. The same was allowed to the staff of 
each brigade and regiment, and the field officer of each reg- 
iment; and a hut to the commissioned officers of each com- 
pany. The huts of the soldiery fronted on streets. Those 
of the officers formed a line in the rear, and the encampment 
gradually assumed the look of a rude military village. 

Scarce had the troops been two days employed in the» » 

* Gordon's Hist. Am. War, vol. ii., p. 279. 

Cife of U/asbin<$ton 95 

labors when, before daybreak on the 22d, word was brought 
that a body of the enemy had made a sortie toward Chester, 
apparently on a foraging expedition. Washington issued 
orders to Generals Huntington and Varnum to hold their 
troops in readiness to march against them. "Fighting will 
be far preferable to starving," writes Huntington. "My 
brigade are out of provisions, nor can the commissary obtain 
any meat. I have used every argument my imagination can 
invent to make the soldiers easy, but I despair of being able 
to do it much longer." 

"It's a very pleasing circumstance to the division under 
my command," writes Varnum, "that there is a probability 
of their marching; three days successively we have been 
destitute of bread. Two days we have been entirely without 
meat. The men must be supplied, or they cannot be com- 

In fact, a dangerous mutiny had broken out among the 
famishing troops in the preceding night, which their officers 
had had great difficulty in quelling. 

AVashington instantly wrote to the President of Congress 
on the subject. "I do not know from what cause this alarm- 
ing deficiency, or rather total failure of supplies arises; but 
unless more vigorous exertions and better regulations take 
place in that line (the commissaries' department) immediate- 
ly, the army must dissolve. I have done all in my power 
by remonstrating, by writing, by ordering the commissaries 
on this head, from time to time ; but without any good effect 
or obtaining more than a present scanty relief. Owing to 
this, the march of the army has been delayed on more than 
one interesting occasion, in the course of the present cam- 
; and had a body of the enemy crossed the Schuylkill 
this morning, as I had reason to expect, the divisions which 

96 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii}$toi} Iruii}$ 

I ordered to be in readiness to march and meet them could 
not have moved." 

Scarce had Washington dispatched his letter, when he 
learned that the Legislature of Pennsylvania had addressed 
a remonstrance to Congress against his going into winter 
quarters instead of keeping in the open field. This letter, 
received in his forlorn situation, surrounded by an unhoused, 
scantily clad, half-starved army, shivering in the midst of 
December's snow and cold, put an end to his forbearance, 
and drew from him another letter to the President of Con- 
gress, dated on the 23d, which we shall largely quote, not 
only for its manly and truthful eloquence, but for the exposi- 
tion it gives of the difficulties of his situation, mainly caused 
by unwise and intermeddling legislation. 

And first as to the commissariat : 

"Though I have been tender, heretofore," writes he, "of 
giving any opinion or lodging complaints, as the change in 
that department took place contrary to my judgment, and 
the consequences thereof were predicted; yet, finding that 
the inactivity of the army, whether for want of provisions, 
clothes or other essentials, is charged to my account, not 
only by the common vulgar, but by those in power, it is 
time to speak plain in exculpation of myself. "With truth, 
then, I can declare that no man, in my opinion, ever had his 
measures more impeded than I have by every department of 
the army. 

"Since the month of July we have had no assistance from 
the quartermaster-general; and to want of assistance from 
this department the commissary-general charges great part 
of his deficiency. To this I am to add that notwithstanding 
it is a standing order, and often repeated, that the troops 
shall always have two days' provisions by them, that they 

Cife of U/asfyin^ton- 97 

might be ready at any sudden call, yet an opportunity has 
scarcely ever offered of taking an advantage of the enemy 
that it has not been either totally obstructed or greatly im- 
peded on this account. . . . As a proof of the little benefit 
received from a clothier-general, and as a further proof of 
the inability of an army, under the circumstances of this, 
to perform the common duties of soldiers (besides a number 
of men confined to hospitals for want of shoes, and others in 
farmers' houses on the same account), we have, by a field 
return this day made, no less than two thousand eight hun- 
dred and ninety-eight men now in camp unfit for duty, 
because they are barefoot, and otherwise naked. By the 
same return it appears that our whole strength in Continental 
trocps, including the Eastern brigades, which have joined 
us since the surrender of General Burgoyne, exclusive of 
the Maryland troops sent to Wilmington, amounts to no 
more than eight thousand two hundred in camp fit for duty; 
notwithstanding which, and that since the 4th instant our 
numbers fit for duty, from the hardships and exposures they 
have undergone, particularly on account of blankets (num- 
bers having been obliged, and still are, to sit up all night by 
fires, instead of taking comfortable rest in a natural and 
common way), have decreased near two thousand men. 

"We find gentlemen, without knowing whether the army 
was really going into winter quarters or not (for I am sure 
no resolution of mine could warrant the remonstrance), repro- 
bating the measure as much as if they thought the soldiers 
were made of stocks or stones, and equally insensible of frost 
and snow; and, moreover, as if they conceived it easily prac- 
ticable for an inferior army, under the disadvantages I have 
described ours to be — which are by no means exaggerated — 
to confine a superior one, in all respects well appointed and 

Vol. XIV.—** *5 

98 U/orl^s of Wa&tyryQtOT) Irving 

provided for a winter's campaign, within the city of Phila- 
delphia, and to cover from depredation and waste the States 
of Pennsylvania and Jersey. But what makes this matter 
still more extraordinary in my eye is, that these very gentle- 
men, who were well apprised of the nakedness of the troops 
from ocular demonstration, who thought their own soldiers 
worse clad than others, and who advised me near a month 
ago to postpone the execution of a plan I was ahout to adopt, 
in consequence of a resolve of Congress for seizing clothes, 
under strong assurances that an ample supply would be col- 
lected in ten days, agreeably to a decree of the State (not 
one article of which, by the bye, is yet come to hand), should 
think a winter's campaign, and the covering of these States 
from the invasion of an enemy, so easy and practicable a 
business. I can assure those gentlemen that it is a much 
easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a 
comfortable room by a good fireside, than to occupy a cold, 
bleak hill, and sleep under frost and snow without clothes 
or blankets. However, although they seem to have little 
feeling for the naked and distressed soldiers, I feel abun- 
dantly for them, and, from my soul, I pity those miseries 
which it is neither in my power to relieve nor prevent. 

46 It is for these reasons, therefore, that I have dwelt upon 
the subject ; and it adds not a little to my other difficulties 
and distress, to find that much more is expected from me 
than is possible to be performed, and that, upon the ground 
of safety and policy, 1 am obliged to conceal the true state 
of the army from public view, and thereby expose myself to 
detraction and calumny." 

In the present exigency, to save his camp from desolation, 
and to relieve his starving soldiery, he was compelled to 
exercise the authority recently given him by Congress, to for- 

Cife of U/asI?ii)$toi} 99 

age the country round, seize supplies wherever he could find 
them, and pay for them in money or in certificates redeem- 
able by Congress. He exercised these powers with great 
reluctance; rurally inclined himself, he had a strong sym- 
pathy with the cultivators of the soil, and ever regarded the 
yeomanry with a paternal eye. He was apprehensive, more- 
over, of irritating the jealousy of military sway, prevalent 
throughout the country, and of corrupting the morals of the 
army. "Such procedures," writes he to the President of 
Congress, "may give a momentary relief, but if repeated 
will prove of the most pernicious consequences. Besides 
spreading disaffection, jealousy and fear among the people, 
they never fail, even in the most veteran troops, under the 
most rigid and exact discipline, to raise in the soldiery a 
disposition to licentiousness, to plunder and robbery, difficult 
to suppress afterward, and which has proved not only ruin- 
ous to the inhabitants, but, in many instances, to armies 
themselves. I regret the occasion that compelled us to the 
measure the other day, and shall consider it the greatest of 
our misfortunes if we should be under the necessity of prac- 
ticing it again." 

How truly in all these trying scenes of his military career 
does the patriot rise above the soldier ! 

With these noble and high-spirited appeals to Congress 
we close Washington's operations for 1777; one of the most 
arduous and eventful years of his military life, and one 
the most trying to his character and fortunes. He began 
it with an empty army chest and a force dwindled down to 
four thousand half -disciplined men. Throughout the year 
he had had to contend not merely with the enemy but with 
the parsimony and meddlesome interference of Congr<'>s. 
In his must critical times that body had left him without 

100 U/or^s of \lfaatyT)<$tor) Iruinc; 

funds and without re-enforcements. It had made promo- 
tions contrary to his advice and contrary to military usage; 
thereby wronging and disgusting some of his bravest officers. 
It had changed the commissariat in the very midst of a cam- 
paign, and thereby thrown the whole service into confusion. 

Among so many cross- purposes and discouragements it 
was a difficult task for "Washington to ''keep the life and 
soul of the army together." Yet he had done so. Marvel- 
ous indeed was the manner in which he had soothed the dis- 
contents of his aggrieved officers and reconciled them to an 
ill-requitting service ; and still more marvelous the manner 
in which he had breathed his own spirit of patience and 
perseverance in his yeoman soldiery during their sultry 
marchings and countermarchings through the Jerseys, under 
all kinds of privations, with no visible object of pursuit to 
stimulate their ardor, hunting, as it were, the rumored 
apparitions of an unseen fleet. 

All this time, too, while endeavoring to ascertain and 
counteract the operations of Lord Howe upon the ocean 
and his brother upon the land, he was directing and aiding 
military measures against Burgoyne in the North. Three 
games were in a manner going on under his supervision. 
The operations of the commander-in-chief are not always 
the most obvious to the public eye; victories may be planned 
in his tent of which subordinate generals get the credit; and 
most of the moves which ended in giving a triumphant check 
to Burgoyne may be traced to Washington's shifting camp 
in the Jerseys. 

It has been an irksome task in some of the preceding 
chapters to notice the under-current of intrigue and manage- 
ment by which some part of this year's campaign was dis- 
graced; yet even-handed justice requires that such machina* 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$ton 101 

tions should be exposed. "We have shown how successful 
they were in displacing the noble-hearted Schuyler from the 
head of the Northern department; the same machinations 
were now at work to undermine the commander-in-chief, 
and elevate the putative hero of Saratoga on his ruins. He 
was painfully aware of them ; yet in no part of the war did 
he more thoroughly evince that magnanimity which was his 
grand characteristic than in the last scenes of this campaign, 
where he rose above the tauntings of the press, the sneerings 
of the cabal, the murmurs of the public, the suggestions of 
some of his friends, and the throbbing impulses of his own 
courageous heart, and adhered to that Fabian policy which 
he considered essential to the safety of the cause. To dare 
is often the impulse of selfish ambition or harebrained valor; 
to forbear is at times the proof of real greatness. 


Gates on the Ascendant — The Conway Letter — Suspicions — Conse- 
quent Correspondence between Gates and Washington — Warn- 
ing Letter from Dr. Craik— Anonymous Letters — Projected 
Expedition to Canada — Lafayette, Gates, and the Board of 

While censure and detraction had dogged Washington 
throughout his harassing campaign and followed him to his 
forlorn encampment at Valley Forge, Gates was the con 
stant theme of popular eulogium, and was held up by the 
cabal as the only one capable of retrieving the desperate 
fortunes of the South. Letters from his friends in Congress 
urged him to hasten on, take his seat at the head of the 

102 UVorl^s of \JJas\)\T)QtOT) Iruio$ 

Board of War, assume the management of military affairs, 
and save the country ! 

Gates was not a strong-minded man. Is it a wonder, 
then, that his brain should be bewildered by the fumes of 
incense offered up on every side? In the midst of his tri 
umph, however, while feasting on the sweets of adulation, 
came the withering handwriting on the wall ! It is an epistle 
from his friend Mifflin. "My dear general," writes he, "an 
extract from Conway's letter to you has been procured and 
sent to headquarters. The extract was a collection of just 
sentiments, yet such as should not have been intrusted to 
any of your family. General Washington inclosed it to Con- 
way without remarks. . . . My dear general, take care of 
your sincerity and frank disposition; they cannot injure 
yourself, but may injure some of your best friends. Affec- 
tionately yours." 

Nothing could surpass the trouble and confusion of mind 
of Gates on the perusal of this letter. Part of his correspond- 
ence with Conway had been sent to headquarters. But 
what part? What was the purport and extent of the alleged 
extracts? How had they been obtained? Who had sent 
them? Mifflin's letter specified nothing; and this silence 
as to particulars left an unbounded field for tormenting con- 
jecture. In fact, Mifflin knew nothing in particular when 
he wrote, nor did any of the cabal. The laconic nature of 
Washington's note to Conway had thrown them all in con- 
fusion. None knew the extent of the correspondence discov- 
ered, nor how far they might be individually compromised. 

Gates, in his perplexity, suspected that his portfolio had 
been stealthily opened and his letters copied. But which of 
them?— and by whom? He wrote to Conway and Mifflin, 
anxiously inquiring what part of their correspondence had 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 103 

been thus surreptitiously obtained, and "who was the villain 
that had played him this treacherous trick. There is scarcely 
a man living," says he, "who takes a greater care of his 
letters than I do. I never fail to lock them up and keep the 
key in my pocket. . . . No punishment is too severe for 
the wretch who betrayed me ; and I doubt not your friend- 
ship for me, as well as your zeal for our safety, will bring 
the name of this miscreant to light." * 

Gates made rigid inquiries among the gentlemen of his 
staff; all disavowed any knowledge of the matter. In the 
confusion and perturbation of his mind his suspicions glanced, 
or were turned, upon Colonel Hamilton as the channel of 
communication, he having had free access to headquarters 
during his late mission from the commander-in-chief. In 
this state of mental trepidation Gates wrote, on the 8th of 
December, the following letter to Washington : 

"Sir — I shall not attempt to describe what, as a private 
gentleman, I cannot help feeling, on representing to my mind 
the disagreeable situation in which confidential letters, when 
exposed to public inspection, may place an unsuspecting 
correspondent; but, as a public officer, I conjure your Excel- 
lency to give me all the assistance you can in tracing the 
author of the infidelity which put extracts from General 
Conway's letters to me into your hands. Those letters have 
been stealingly copied, but which of them, when, and by 
whom, is to me as yet an unfathomable secret. ... It is, 
I believe, in your Excellency's power to do me and the United 
States a very important service, by detecting a wretch who 
may betray me, and capitally injure the very operations 
under your immediate directions. . . . The crime being 

* Gates's Papers, N. Y. Hist. Lib. 

104 U/orl^s of U/a8f?ir)<$tor) Iruir}<$ 

eventually so important that the least loss of time may be 
attended with the worst consequences, and it being unknown 
to me whether the letter came to you from a member of 
Congress, or from an officer, I shall have the honor of trans- 
mitting a copy of this to the President, that the Congress 
may, in concert with your Excellency, obtain, as soon as 
possible, a discovery which so deeply affects the safety of 
the States. Crimes of that magnitude ought not to remain 

A copy of this letter was transmitted by Gates to the 
President of Congress. 

Washington replied with characteristic dignity and can- 
dor. "Your letter of the 8th ultimo," writes he (January 
4th), "came to my hand a few days ago, and, to my great 
surprise, informed me that a copy of it had been sent to Con- 
gress, for what reason I find myself unable to account; but, 
as some end was doubtless intended to be answered by it, 
I am laid under the disagreeable necessity of returning my 
answer through the same channel, lest any member of that 
honorable body should harbor an unfavorable suspicion of 
my having practiced some indirect means to come at the 
contents of the confidential letters between you and General 

"I am to inform you, then, that Colonel Wilkinson, on 
nis way to Congress, in the month of October last, fell 
in with Lord Stirling at Reading, and, not in confidence, 
that I ever understood, informed his aid-de-camp, Major 
Mc Williams, that General Conway had written this to you : 
* Heaven has been determined to save your country, or a 
weak general and bad counselors would have ruined it.' 
Lord Stirling, from motives of friendship, transmitted the 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$tor) 105 

account, with this remark: "The inclosed was communicated 
by Colonel Wilkinson to Major Mc Williams. Such wicked 
duplicity of conduct I shall always think it my duty to 
detect.' " 

Washington adds, that the letter written by him to Con- 
way was merely to show that gentleman that he was not 
unapprised of his intriguing disposition. "Neither this 
letter," continues he, "nor the information which occa- 
sioned it, was ever directly or indirectly communicated by 
me to a single officer in this army, out of my own family, 
excepting the Marquis de Lafayette, who, having been 
spoken to on the subject by General Conway, applied for 
and saw, under injunctions of secrecy, the letter which 
contained Wilkinson's information; so desirous was I 
of concealing every matter that could, in its conse- 
quences, give the smallest interruption to the tranquil- 
lity of this army, or afford a gleam of hope to the 
enemy by dissensions therein. . . . Till Lord Stirling's 
letter came to my hands I never knew that General Con- 
way, whom I viewed in the light of a stranger to you, 
was a correspondent of yours; much less did I suspect that 
I was the subject of your confidential letters. Pardon me, 
then, for adding, that, so far from conceiving the safety of 
the States can be affected, or in the smallest degree injured, 
by a discovery of this kind, or that I should be called upon 
in such solemn terms to point out the author, I considered 
the information as coming from yourself, and given with a 
view to forewarn, and consequently to forearm me, against 
a secret enemy, or, in other words, a dangerous incendiary; 
in which character sooner or Jater this country will know 
General Conway. But in this, as in other matters of late, 
I have found myself mistaken." 

106 U/or^s of U/asl?ii?$toi) Iri/ip$ 

This clear and ample answer explained the enigma of the 
laconic note to Conway, and showed that the betrayal of 
the defamatory correspondence was due to the babbling 
of Wilkinson. Following the mode adopted by Gates, Wash- 
ington transmitted his reply through the hands of the Presi- 
dent of Congress, and thus this matter, which he had gener- 
ously kept secret, became blazoned before Congress and the 

A few days after writing the above letter Washington 
received the following warning from his old and faithful 
friend, Dr. Craik, dated from Maryland, January 6. "Not- 
withstanding your unwearied diligence and the unparalleled 
sacrifice of domestic happiness and ease of mind which you 
have made for the good of your country, yet you are not 
wanting in secret enemies, who would rob you of the great 
and truly deserved esteem your country has for you. Base 
and villainous men, through chagrin, envy or ambition, are 
endeavoring to lessen you in the minds of the people and 
taking underhand methods to traduce your character. The 
morning I left camp I was informed that a strong faction 
was forming against you in the new Board of War and in 
the Congress. . . . The method they are taking is by hold- 
ing General Gates up to the people and making them believe 
that you have had a number three or four times greater than 
the enemy, and have done nothing; that Philadelphia was 
given up by your management, and that you have had many 
opportunities of defeating the enemy. It is said they dare 
not appear openly as your enemies ; but that the new Board 
of War is composed of such leading men as will throw such 
obstacles and difficulties in your way as to force you to 
resign." * 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. v., p. 493. 

Cife of U/asf?ir/<$too 107 

An anonymous letter to Patrick Henry, dated from York- 
town, Jan. 12th, says, among other things: "We have only 
passed the Red Sea; a dreary wilderness is still before us, 
and unless a Moses or a Joshua are raised up in our behalf, 
we must perish before we reach the promised land. . . . But 
is our case desperate? By no means. We have wisdom, 
virtue, and strength enough to save us, if they could be 
called into action. The Northern army has shown us what 
Americans are capable of doing with a general at their head. 
The spirit of the Southern army is no way inferior to the 
spirit of the Northern. A Gates, a Lee, or a Conway, would, 
in a few weeks, render them an irresistible body of men. 
The last of the above officers has accepted of the new office 
of inspector-general of our army, in order to reform abuses ; 
but the remedy is only a palliative one. In one of his letters 
to a friend, he says, 'A great and good God hath decreed 
America to be free, or the [general] and weak counselors 
would have ruined her long ago.' " * 

Another anonymous paper, probably by the same hand, 
dated January 17th, and sent to Congress under a cover 
directed to the president, Mr. Laurens, decried all the pro- 
ceedings of the Southern army, declaring that the proper 
method of attacking, beating, and conquering the enemy had 
never as yet been adopted by the commander-in-chief; that 
the late success to the northward was owing to a change 
of the commanders; that the Southern army would have 
been alike successful had a similar change taken place. 
After dwelling on the e^ils and derangements prevalent in 
every department, it draws the conclusion, "That the head 
cannot possibly be sound, when the whole body is disor- 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. v., p. 493. 

108 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii}$toi) Irvirjo; 

dered ; that tlie people of America have been guilty of idola- 
try, by making a man their god, and the God of heaven and 
earth will convince them, by woful experience, that he is 
only a man ; that no good may be expected from the stand- 
ing army until Baal and his worshipers are banished from 
the camp." * 

Instead of laying this mischievous paper before Congress, 
Mr. Laurens remitted it to Washington. He received the 
following reply: "I cannot sufficiently express the obligation 
I feel to you for your friendship and politeness, upon an occa- 
sion in which I am so deeply interested. I was not unapprised 
that a malignant faction had been for some time forming to 
my prejudice; which, conscious as I am of having ever done 
all in my power to answer the important purposes of the trust 
reposed in me, could not but give me some pain on a personal 
account. But my chief concern arises from an apprehension 
of the dangerous consequences which intestine dissensions 
may produce to the common cause. 

"My enemies take an ungenerous advantage of me. They 
know the delicacy of my situation, and that motives of policy 
deprive me of the defense I might otherwise make against 
their insidious attacks. They know I cannot combat their 
insinuations, however injurious, without disclosing secrets 
which it is of the utmost moment to conceal. But why 
should I expect to be exempt from censure, the unfailing lot 
of an elevated station? Merit and talents, with which I can 
have no pretensions of rivalship, have ever been subject to 
it. My heart tells me that it has ever been my unremitted 
aim to do the best that circumstances would permit; yet I 
may have been very often mistaken in my judgment of the 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. v., p. 497. 

Cife of U/asr;in<$tor; 109 

means, and may in many instances deserve the imputation 
of error." 

Gates was disposed to mark his advent to power by a 
striking operation. A notable project had been concerted 
by him and the Board of War for a winter irruption into 
Canada. An expedition was to proceed from Albany, cross 
Lake Champlain on the ice, burn the British shipping at St. 
John's, and press forward to Montreal. Washington was 
not consulted in the matter: the project was submitted to 
Congress, and sanctioned by them without his privity. 

One object of the scheme was to detach the Marquis de 
Lafayette from Washington, to whom he was devotedly at- 
tached, and bring him into the interests of the cabal. For 
this purpose he was to bave the command of the expedition; 
an appointment which it was thought would tempt his mili- 
tary ambition. Conway was to be second in command; and 
it was trusted that his address and superior intelligence would 
virtually make him the leader. 

The first notice that Washington received of the project 
was in a letter from Gates, inclosing one to Lafayette, in- 
forming the latter of his appointment, and requiring his 
attendance at Yorktown to receive his instructions. 

Gates, in his letter to Washington, asked his opinion and 
advice; evidently as a matter of form. The latter expressed 
himself obliged by the "polite request," but observed that, 
as he neither knew the extent of the objects in view, nor the 
means to be employed to effect them, it was not in his power 
to pass any judgment upon the subject. He wished success 
to the enterprise, "both as it might advance the public good 
and confer personal honor on the Marquis de Lafayette, for 
whom he had a very particular esteem and regard." 

The cabal, however, had overshot their mark. Lafay- 

110 U/orks of U/asl?i9$tor) Iruio<$ 

ette, who was aware of their intrigues, was so disgusted 
by the want of deference and respect to the commander-in- 
chief evinced in the whole proceeding, that he would at 
once have declined the appointment, had not "Washington 
himself advised him strongly to accept it. 

He accordingly proceeded to Yorktown, where Gates 
already had his little court of schemers and hangers-on. 
Lafayette found him at table, presiding with great hilarity, 
for he was social in his habits and in the flush of recent suc- 
cess. The young marquis had a cordial welcome to his 
board, which in his buoyant conviviality contrasted with the 
sober decencies of that of the thoughtful commander-in-chief 
in his dreary encampment at Valley Forge. Gates, in his 
excitement, was profuse of promises. Everything was to be 
made smooth and easy for Lafayette. He was to have at 
least two thousand five hundred fighting men under him. 
Stark, the veteran Stark, was ready to co-operate with a 
body of Green Mountain boys. " Indeed, " cries Gates, 
chuckling, "General Stark will have burned the fleet be- 
fore your arrival!" 

It was near the end of the repast. The wine had circu- 
lated freely and toasts had been given according to the cus- 
tom of the day. The marquis thought it time to show his 
flag. One toast, he observed, had been omitted, which he 
would now propose. Glasses were accordingly filled, and 
he gave, "The commander-in-chief of the American armies." 
The toast was received without cheering. 

Lafayette was faithful to the flag he had unfurled. In 
accepting the command, he considered himself detached from 
the main army and under the immediate orders of the com- 
mander-in-chief. He had a favorable opinion of the military 
talents of Conway, but he was aware of the game he was 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$t:oi) 111 

playing ; he made a point, therefore, of having the Baron de 
Kalb appointed to the expedition; whose commission, being 
of older date than that of Conway, would give him the 
precedence of that officer, and make him second in command. 
This was reluctantly ceded by the cabal, who found them- 
selves baffled by the loyalty in friendship of the youthful 

Lafayette set out for Albany without any very sanguine 
expectations. Writing to Washington from Flemington, 
amid the difficulties of winter travel, he says: " I go on very 
slowly ; sometimes drenched by rain, sometimes covered with 
snow, and not entertaining many handsome thoughts about 
the projected incursion into Canada. Lake Cham plain is 
too cold for producing the least bit of laurel; and, if I am 
not starved, I shall be as proud as if I had gained three 


Gates undertakes to explain the Conway Correspondence — Wash- 
ington's Searching Analysis of the Explanation — Close of the 
Correspondence — Spurious Letters published — Lafayette and 
the Canada Expedition— His Perplexities — Counsels of Wash- 

Washington's letter of the 4th of January, on the sub- 
ject of the Conway correspondence, had not reached General 
Gates until the 22d of January, after his arrival at York- 
town. No sooner did Gates learn, from its context, that all 
Washington's knowledge of that correspondence was con- 
fined to a single paragraph of a letter, and that merely as 

* Sparks' Cor. Am. Rev., vol. ii., p. 74. 

112 U/or^s of U/ast?ii?<$tOD Iruin©; 

quoted in conversation by Wilkinson, than the whole matter 
appeared easily to be explained or shuffled off. He accord- 
ingly took pen in hand, and addressed Washington as fol- 
lows, on the 23d of January: "The letter which I had the 
honor to receive yesterday from your Excellency has relieved 
me from unspeakable uneasiness. I now anticipate the 
pleasure it will give you when you discover that what has 
been conveyed to you for an extract of General Conway's 
letter to me was not an information which friendly motives 
induced a man of honor to give, that injured virtue might 
be forearmed against secret enemies. The paragraph which 
your Excellency has condescended to transcribe is spurious. 
It was certainly fabricated to answer the most selfish and 
wicked purposes." 

He then goes on to declare that the genuine letter of 
Conway was perfectly harmless, containing judicious re- 
marks upon the want of discipline in the army, but making 
no mention of weak generals or bad counselors. " Particular 
actions rather than persons were blamed, but with impar- 
tiality, and I am convinced he did not aim at lessening, in 
my opinion, the merit of any person. His letter was per- 
fectly harmless; however, now that various reports have 
been circulated concerning its contents, they ought to be 
submitted to the solemn inspection of those who stand most 
high in the public esteem. 

"Anxiety and jealousy would arise in the breast of very 
respectable officers, who, sensible of faults which experience, 
and that alone, may have led them into, would be unneces- 
sarily disgusted, if they perceived a probability of such errors 
being recorded. 

"Honor forbids it, and patriotism demands that I should 
return the letter into the hands of the writer. I will do it; 

Cife of U/asr;in<$tor) 113 

but, at the same time, I declare that the paragraph conveyed 
to your Excellency as a genuine part of it was, in words as 
well as in substance, a wicked forgery. 

"About the beginning of December, I was informed that 
letter had occasioned an explanation between your Excel- 
lency and that gentleman. Not knowing whether the whole 
letter or a part of it had been stealingly copied, but fearing 
malice had altered its original texture, I own, sir, that a 
dread of the mischiefs which might attend the forgery I sus- 
pected would be made, put me some time in a most painful 
situation. When I communicated to the officers in my 
family the intelligence which I had received, they all en- 
treated me to rescue their characters from the suspicions 
they justly conceived themselves liable to, until the guilty 
person should be known. To facilitate the discovery, I 
wrote to your Excellency; but, unable to learn whether 
General Conway's letter had been transmitted to you by a 
member of Congress or a gentleman in the army, I was 
afraid much time would be lost in the course of the inquiry, 
and that the States might receive some capital injury from 
the infidelity of the person who I thought had stolen a copy 
of the obnoxious letter. Was it not probable that the secrets 
of the army might be obtained and betrayed through the 
same means to the enemy? For this reason, sir, not doubt- 
ing that Congress would most cheerfully concur with you 
in tracing out the criminal, I wrote to the president, and 
inclosed to him a copy of my letter to your Excellency. 

" About the time I was forwarding those letters, Brig- 
adier-general Wilkinson returned to Albany. I informed 
him of the treachery which had been committed, but I con- 
Eded from him the measures I was pursuing to unmask 
the author. Wilkinson answered he was assured it never 

114 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruio$ 

would come to light, and endeavored to fix my suspicions 
on Lieutenant- colonel Troup,* who, he said, might have 
incautiously conversed on the substance of General Conway's 
letter with Colonel Hamilton, whom you had sent not long 
before to Albany. I did not listen to this insinuation against 
your aid-de-camp and mine." 

In the original draft of this letter, which we have seen 
among the papers of General Gates, he adds, as a reason 
for not listening to the insinuation, that he considered it even 
as ungenerous. "But," pursues he, '"the light your Excel- 
lency has just assisted me with, exhibiting the many qualifi- 
cations which are necessarily blended together in the head 
and heart of General Wilkinson, I would not omit this fact; 
it will enable your Excellency to judge whether or not he 
would scruple to make such a forgery as that which he now 
stands charged with, and ought to be exemplarily pun- 
ished." This, with considerable more to the same purport, 
intended to make Wilkinson the scapegoat, stands canceled 
in the draft, and was omitted in the letter sent to Washing- 
ton ; but by some means, fair or foul, it came to the knowl- 
edge of Wilkinson, who has published it at length in his 
Memoirs, and who, it will be found, resented the imputation 
thus conveyed. 

General Conway, also, in a letter to Washington (dated 
January 27), informs him that the letter had been returned 
to him by Gates, and that he found with great satisfaction 
that "the paragraph so much spoken of did not exist in the 
said letter, nor anything like it." He had intended, he adds, 
to publish the letter, but had been dissuaded by President 
Laurens and two or three members of Congress, to whom he 

* At that time an aid-de-camp of Gates. 

Cife of U/asr;in$tor; 115 

had shown it, lest it should inform the enemy of a misun- 
derstanding among the American generals. He therefore 
depended upon the justice, candor and generosity of General 
Washington to put a stop to the forgery. 

On the 9th of February, "Washington wrote Gates a long 
and searching reply to his letters of the 8th and 23d of Jan- 
uary, analyzing them, and showing how, in spirit and im- 
port, they contradicted each other; and how sometimes the 
same letter contradicted itself. How in the first letter the 
reality of the extracts was by implication allowed, and 
the only solicitude shown was to find out the person who 
brought them to light; while, in the second letter, the whole 
was pronounced, "in word as well as in substance, a wicked 
forgery." "It is not my intention," observes Washington, 
"to contradict this assertion, but only to intimate some con- 
siderations which tend to induce a supposition that, though 
none of General Conway's letters to you contained the offen- 
sive passage mentioned, there might have been something 
in them too nearly related to it that could give such an 
extraordinary alarm. If this were not the case, how 
easy in the first instance to have declared there was 
nothing exceptionable in them, and to have produced 
the letters themselves in support of it? The propriety 
of the objections suggested against submitting them to 
inspection may very well be questioned. * The various 
reports circulated concerning their contents ' were perhaps 
so many arguments for making them speak for them- 
selves, to place the matter upon the footing of certainty. 
Concealment in an affair which had made so much noise, 
though not by my means, will naturally lead men to con- 
jecture the worst, and it will be a subject of speculation 

to '-aii'lor itself. The anxiety and jealousy you ap- 

116 U/or^s of U/asfyir^toi) Irvir}©; 

prehend from revealing the letter will be very apt to be 
increased by suppressing it." 

We forbear to follow Washington through his stern anal- 
ysis, but we cannot omit the concluding paragraph of his 
strictures on the character of Conway. 

"Notwithstanding the hopeful presages you are pleased 
to figure to yourself of General Conway's firm and constant 
friendship to America, I cannot persuade myself to retract 
the prediction concerning him which you so emphatically 
wish had not been inserted in my last. A better acquaint- 
ance with him than I have reason to think you have had, 
from what you say, and a concurrence of circumstances, 
oblige me to give him but little credit for the qualifications 
of his heart, of which, at least, I beg leave to assume the 
privilege of being a tolerable judge. Were it necessary, 
more instances than one might be adduced, from his behavior 
and conversation, to manifest that he is capable of all the 
malignity of detraction, and all the meanness of intrigue, 
to gratify the absurd resentment of disappointed vanity, or 
to answer the purposes of personal aggrandizement and pro- 
mote the interest of faction." 

Gates evidently quailed beneath this letter. In his reply, 
February 19th, he earnestly hoped that no more of that time, 
so precious to the public, might be lost upon the subject of 
General Conway's letter. 

"Whether that gentleman," says he, "does or does not 
deserve the suspicions you express would be entirely indif- 
ferent to me, did he not possess an office of high rank in the 
army of the United States. As to the gentleman, I have no 
personal connection with him, nor had I any correspondence 
previous to his writing the letter which has given offense, 
nor have I since written to him save to certify what I know 

Cife of U/ast?ir)<$tor) 117 

to be the contents of that letter. He, therefore, must be 
responsible ; as I heartily dislike controversy, even upon my 
own account, and much more in a matter wherein I was only 
accidentally concerned," etc., etc. 

The following was the dignified but freezing note with 
which Washington closed this correspondence. 

"Valley Forge, 24th February, 1778. 
4 'Sir — I yesterday received your favor of the 19th instant. 
I am as averse to controversy as any man ; and, had I not 
been forced into it, you never would have had occasion to 
impute to me even the shadow of a disposition toward it. 
Your repeatedly and solemnly disclaiming any offensive 
views in those matters which have been the subject of our 
past correspondence makes me willing to close with the 
desire you express of burying them hereafter in silence, 
and, as far as future events will permit, oblivion. My 
temper leads me to peace and harmony with all men ; and 
it is peculiarly my wish to avoid any personal feuds or dis- 
sensions with those who are embarked in the same great 
national interest with myself, as every difference of this kind 
must, in its consequences, be very injurious. I am, sir," etc. 

Among the various insidious artifices resorted to about 
this time to injure the character of Washington and destroy 
public confidence in his sincerity, was the publication of a 
series of letters purporting to be from him to some members 
of his family, and to his agent, Mr. Lund Washington, 
which, if genuine, would prove him to be hollow-hearted 
and faithless to the cause he was pretending to uphold. 
They had appeared in England in a pamphlet form, ;is if 
printed from originals and drafts found in possession of 

118 U/orl^8 of Was\)\r)<^tOT) Iruir)<$ 

a black servant of Washington, who had been left behind 
ill at Fort Lee when it was evacuated. They had recently 
been reprinted at New York in Rivington's "Royal Ga- 
zette"; the first letter making its appearance on the 14th 
of February. It had also been printed at New York in a 
handbill, and extracts published in a Philadelphia paper. 

Washington took no public notice of this publication at 
the time, but in private correspondence with his friends 
he observes: " These letters are written with a great deal 
of art. The intermixture of so many family circumstances 
(which, by the bye, want foundation in truth) gives an air of 
plausibility, which renders the villainy greater ; as the whole 
is a contrivance to answer the most diabolical purposes. 
Who the author of them is I know not. From information 
or acquaintance he must have had some knowledge of the 
component parts of my family ; but he has most egregiously 
mistaken the facts in several instances. The design of his 
labors is as clear as the sun in its meridian brightness." * 
And in another letter he observes: "They were written to 
show that I was an enemy to independence, and with a view 
to create distrust and jealousy. It is no easy matter to 
decide whether the villainy or the artifice of these letters 
is greatest." f 

The author of these letters was never discovered. He 
entirely failed in his object ; the letters were known at once 
to be forgeries. J 

* Letter to General Henry Lee, Virginia. — Sparks' Writ- 
ings of Washington, vol. v., p. 378. 

f Letter to Landon Carter. Idem, p. 391. 

I The introduction to the letters states them to have been 
transmitted to England by an officer serving in Delancey's 
corps of loyalists, who gives the following account of the 
way he came by them : Among the prisoners at Fort Lee, I 

Cife of U/asr;in<$ton 119 

Letters received at this juncture from Lafayette gave 
Washington tidings concerning the expedition against Can- 
ada, set on foot without consulting him. General Conway 
had arrived at Albany three days before the marquis, and 
his first word when they met was that the expedition was 
quite impossible. Generals Schuyler, Lincoln and Arnold 
had written to Conway to that effect. The marquis at first 
was inclined to hope the contrary, but his hope was soon 
demolished. Instead of the two thousand five hundred men 
that had been promised him, not twelve hundred in all were 

espied a mulatto fellow, whom I thought I recollected, and 
who confirmed my conjectures by gazing very earnestly at 
me. I asked him if he knew me. At first he was unwilling 
to own it ; but when he was about to be carried off, think- 
ing, I suppose, that I might perhaps be of some service to 
him, he came and told me that he was Billy, and the old 
servant of General AYashington. He had been left there on 
account of an indisposition which prevented his attending his 
master. I asked him a great many questions, as you may 
suppose; but found very little satisfaction in his answers. 
At last, however, he told me that he had a small portman- 
teau of his master's, of which, when he found that he must 
be put into confinement, he entreated my care. It contained 
only a few stockings and shirts; and I could see nothing 
worth my care, except an almanac, in which he had kept a 
sort of a journal or diary of his proceedings since his first 
coming to ISTew York ; there were also two letters from his 
lady, one from Mr. Custis, and some pretty long ones from a 
Mr. Lund Washington. And in the same bundle with them 
the first draughts or foul copies of answers to them. I read 
these with avidity; and being highly entertained with them, 
shown them to several of my friends, who all agree 
: ne that he is a very different character from what they 
had supposed him. 

In commenting on the above, Washington observed that 
liis mulatto man Billy had never been one moment in the 
power of the enemy, and that no part of his baggage nor 
any of his attendants were captured during the whole com 
of the war.— Letter to Timothy Pickering, Sparks, ix. L49. 

120 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruii)<$ 

to be found fit for duty, and most part of these were "naked 
even for a summer's campaign"; all shrank from a winter 
incursion into so cold a country. As to General Stark and 
his legion of Green Mountain Boys, who, according to the 
gasconade of Gates, might have burned the fleet before 
Lafayette's arrival, the marquis received at Albany a let- 
ter from the veteran, "who wishes to know," says he, "what 
number of men, for what time, and for what rendezvous, 
I desire him to raise." 

Another officer, who was to have enlisted men, would 
have done so, had he received money. "One asks what 
encouragement his people will have ; the other has no clothes ; 
not one of them has received a dollar of what was due to 
them. I have applied to everybody, I have begged at every 
door I could these two days, and I see that I could do some- 
thing were the expedition to be begun in five weeks. But 
you know we have not an hour to lose ; and, indeed, it is 
now rather too late had we everything in readiness." 

The poor marquis was in despair —but what most dis- 
tressed him was the dread of ridicule. He had written to 
his friends that he had the command of the expedition; it 
would be known throughout Europe. "I am afraid," says 
he, "that it will reflect on my reputation, and I shall be 
laughed at. My fears upon that subject are so strong that 
I would choose to become again only a volunteer, unless 
Congress offers the means of mending this ugly business by 
some glorious operation." 

A subsequent letter is in the same vein. The poor mar- 
quis, in his perplexity, lays his whole heart open to "Wash- 
ington with childlike simplicity. "I have written lately to 
you my distressing, ridiculous, foolish, and indeed nameless 
situation. I am sent, with a great noise, at the head of an 

Cife of U/asf?ir)<$toi? 121 

army for doing great things; the whole continent, France 
and Europe herself, and, what is worse, the British army, 
are in great expectations. How far they will be deceived, 
how far we shall be ridiculed, you may judge by the candid 
account you have got of the state of our affairs. I confess, 
my dear general, that I find myself of very quick feelings 
whenever my reputation and glory are concerned in any- 
thing. It is very hard that such a part of my happiness, 
without which I cannot live, should depend upon schemes 
which I never knew of but when there was no time to put 
them into execution. I assure you, my most dear and re- 
spected friend, that I am more unhappy than I ever was. 
... I should be very happy if you were here, to give me 
some advice; but I have nobody to consult with." 

Washington, with his considerate, paternal counsels, hast- 
ened to calm the perturbation of his youthful friend and dis- 
pel those fears respecting his reputation, excited only, as he 
observed, "by an uncommon degree of sensibility." "It 
will be no disadvantage to you to have it known in Europe," 
writes he, "that you have received so manifest a proof of the 
good opinion and confidence of Congress as an important de- 
tached command. . . . However sensibly your ardor for 
glory may make you feel this disappointment, you may be 
assured that your character stands as fair as ever it did, and 
that no new enterprise is necessary to wipe off this imaginary 

The project of an irruption into Canada was at length 
formally suspended by a resolve of Congress; and Washing- 
ton was directpd to recall the marquis and the Baron de 
Kalb, the presence of the latter being deemed absolutely nec- 
essary to the army at Valley Forge. Lafayette at the same 
time received assuraneo of the high sense entertained by 

Vol. XIV.— •**6 

122 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi) Iruii)<$ 

Congress of his prudence, activity and zeal, and that noth- 
ing was wanting on his part to give the expedition the ut- 
most possible effect. 

Gladly the young marquis hastened back to Valley Forge, 
to enjoy the companionship and find himself once more un- 
der the paternal eye of "Washington; leaving Conway for 
the time in command at Albany, " where there would be 
nothing, perhaps, to be attended to but some disputes of 
Indians and tories." 

"Washington, in a letter to General Armstrong, writes: 
"I shall say no more of the Canada expedition than that it 
is at an end. I never was made acquainted with a single 
circumstance relating to it."* 


More Trouble about the Conway Letter — Correspondence between 
Lord Stirling and Wilkinson — Wilkinson's Honor wounded — 
His Passage at Arms with General Gates — His Seat at the 
Board of War uncomfortable — Determines that Lord Stirling 
shall bleed — His Wounded Honor healed — His Interviews with 
Washington — Sees the Correspondence of Gates — Denounces 
Gates and gives up the Secretaryship — Is thrown out of Em- 
ploy — Closing Remarks on the Conway Cabal 

The Conway letter was destined to be a further source 
of trouble to the cabal. Lord Stirling, in whose presence, 
at Reading, Wilkinson had cited the letter, and who had 
sent information of it to Washington, was now told that 
Wilkinson, on being questioned by General Conway, had 
declared that no such words as those reported, nor any to 
the same effect, were in the letter. 

* Sparks' Writings of Washington, vol. v., p. 300. 

Cife of U/as^ir^tor? 123 

His lordship immediately wrote to Wilkinson, reminding 
him of the conversation at Reading, and telling him of what 
he had recently heard. 

"I well know/' writes his lordship, "that it is impossible 
you could have made any such declaration ; but it will give 
great satisfaction to many of your friends to know whether 
Conway made such inquiry, and what was your answer; 
they would also be glad to know what were the words of the 
letter, and I should be very much obliged to you for a copy 
of it." 

Wilkinson found that his tongue had again brought him 
into difficulty ; but he trusted to his rhetoric, rather than his 
logic, to get him out of it. He wrote in reply that he per- 
fectly remembered spending a social day with his lordship at 
Reading, in which the conversation became general, unre- 
served and copious; though the tenor of his lordship's dis- 
course, and the nature of their situation, made it confiden- 
tial. "I cannot, therefore," adds he logically, "recapitulate 
particulars, or charge my memory with the circumstances 
you mention; but, my lord, I disdain low craft, subtlety and 
evasion, and will acknowledge it is possible, in the warmth 
of social intercourse, when the mind is relaxed and the heart 
is unguarded, that observations may have elapsed which 
have not since occurred to me. On my late arrival in camp, 
Brigadier-general Conway informed me that he had been 
charged, by General Washington, with writing a letter to 
Major-general Gates which reflected on the general and the 
army. The particulars of this charge, which Brigadier-gen- 
eral Conway then repeated, I cannot now recollect. I had 
read the letter alluded to; I did not consider the information 
conveyed in his Excellency's letter, as expressed by Briga- 
dier-general Conway, to be literal, and well remember reply- 

124 U/or^s of U/as^ip^toi) Iruip^ 

ing to that effect in dubious terms. I had no inducement to 
stain my veracity, were I so prone to that infamous vice, as 
Brigadier Conway informed me he had justified the change. 

"I can scarce credit my senses, when I read the para- 
graph in which you request an extract from a private letter 
which had fallen under my observation. I have been indis 
creet, my lord, but be assured I will not be dishonorable." 

This communication of Lord Stirling, Wilkinson gives as 
the first intimation he had received of his being implicated 
in the disclosure of Conway's letter. When he was subse- 
quently on his way to Yorktown, to enter upon his duties 
as secretary of the Board of War, he learned at Lancaster 
that General Gates had denounced him as the betrayer of 
that letter, and had spoken of him in the grossest language. 

"I was shocked by this information, ' ' writes he; "I had 
sacrificed my lineal rank at General Gates's request; I had 
served him with zeal and fidelity, of which he possessed the 
strongest evidence, yet he had condemned me unheard for 
an act of which I was perfectly innocent, and against which 
every feeling of my soul revolted with horror. ... I wor- 
shiped honor as the jewel of my soul, and did not pause for 
the course to be pursued ; but I owed it to disparity of years 
and rank, to former connection and the affections of my own 
breast, to drain the cup of conciliation and seek an explana- 

The result of these and other considerations, expressed 
with that grandiloquence on which Wilkinson evidently 
prided himself, was a letter to Gates, reminding him of 
the zeal and devotion with which he had uniformly asserted 
and maintained his cause; "but, sir," adds he, "in spite of 
every consideration, you have wounded my honor, and must 
make acknowledgment or satisfaction for the injury." 

Cife of U/asr;in<$ton 125 

"In consideration of our past connection, I descend to 
that explanation with you which I should have denied any- 
other man. The inclosed letters unmask the villain and 
evince my innocence. My lord shall bleed for his conduct, 
but it is proper I first see you." 

The letters inclosed were those between him and Lord 
Stirling, the exposition of which he alleges ought to acquit 
him of sinister intention, and stamp the report of his lord- 
ship to General Washington with palpable falsehood. 

Gates writes briefly in reply. "Sir — The following ex- 
tract of a letter from General Washington to me will show 
you how your honor has been called in question; which is 
all the explanation necessary upon that matter; any other 
satisfaction you may command." 

Then followed the extracts giving the information com- 
municated by Wilkinson to Major Mc Williams, Lord Stir- 
ling's aid-de-camp. 

"After reading the whole of the above extract," adds 
Gates, "I am astonished, if you really gave Major Mc Wil- 
liams such information, how you could intimate to me that 
it was possible Colonel Troup had conversed with Colonel 
Hamilton upon the subject of General Conway's letters." 

According to Wilkinson's story he now proceeded to York- 
town, purposely arriving in the twilight to escape observa- 
tion. There he met with an old comrade, Captain Stoddart, 
recounted to him his wrongs, and requested him to be the 
bearer of a message to General Gates. Stoddart refused ; 
and warned him that he was running headlong to destruc- 
tion: "but ruirj," observes Wilkinson, "had no terrors for 
an ardent young man, who prized Iris honor a thousand-fold 
more than his life, and who was willing to hazard his eternal 
happiness in its defense." 

126 U/orl^s of \JJ as\)\r)$tOT) Irvip$ 

He accidentally met with another military friend, Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Ball, of the Virginia line, "whose spirit was 
as independent as his fortune." He willingly became bearer 
of the following note from Wilkinson to General Gates: 

"Sir — I have discharged my duty to you, and to my con- 
science; meet me to-morrow morning behind the English 
church, and I will there stipulate the satisfaction which you 
have promised to grant, " etc. 

Colonel Ball was received with complaisance by the gen- 
eral. The meeting was fixed for eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing, with pistols. 

At the appointed time Wilkinson and his second, having 
put their arms in order, were about to sally forth, when Cap- 
tain Stoddart made his appearance and informed Wilkinson 
that Gates desired to speak with him. Where? — In the 
street near the door. — "The surprise robbed me of circum- 
spection," continues Wilkinson. "I requested Colonel Ball 
to halt, and followed Captain Stoddart. I found General 
Gates unarmed and alone, and was received with tenderness 
but manifest embarrassment ; he asked me to walk, turned 
into a back street, and we proceeded in silence till we passed 
the buildings, when he burst into tears, took me by the hand, 
and asked me 'how I could think he wished to injure me?' 
I was too deeply affected to speak, and he relieved my em- 
barrassment by continuing: Q I injure you! it is impossible. 
I should as soon think of injuring my own child.' This lan- 
guage," observes Wilkinson, "not only disarmed me, but 
awakened all my confidence and all my tenderness. I was 
silent; and he added, 'Besides, there was no cause for injur- 
ing you, as Conway acknowledged his letter, and has since 
said much harder things to Washington's face.' • 

"Such language left me nothing to require," continues 

Cife of U/asl?ir><$toi) 127 

Wilkinson. "It was satisfactory beyond expectation, and 
rendered me more than content. I was flattered and 
pleased; and if a third person had doubted the sincerity 
of the explanation I would have insulted him." 

A change soon came over the spirit of this maudlin scene. 
Wilkinson attended as secretary at the War Office. "My 
reception from the president, General Gates," writes he, 
"did not correspond with his recent professions; he was 
civil, but barely so, and I was at a loss to account for his 
coldness, yet had no suspicion of his insincerity." 

Wilkinson soon found his situation at the Board of War 
uncomfortable ; and after the lapse of a few days set out for 
Valley Forge. On his way thither he met Washington's old 
friend, Dr. Craik, and learned from him that his promotion 
to the rank of brigadier-general by brevet had been remon- 
strated against to Congress by forty-seven colonels. He 
therefore sent in his resignation, not wishing, he said, to 
hold it, unless he could wear it to the honor and advantage 
of his country; "and this conduct," adds he, "however re- 
pugnant to fashionable ambition, I find consistent with those 
principles in which I early drew my sword in the present 

At Lancaster, Wilkinson, recollecting his resolve that 
Lord Stirling, "should bleed for his conduct," requested his 
friend, Colonel Moylan, to deliver a "peremptory message" 
to his lordship. The colonel considered the measure rather 
precipitate, and suggested that a suitable acknowledgment 
from his lordship would be a more satisfactory reparation of 
the wrong than a sacrifice of the life of either of the parties. 
"There is not in the whole range of my friends, acquaint- 
ance, and I might add, in the universe," exclaims Wilkin- 

i, "a man of more sublimated sentiment, or who combined 

128 U/orl^g of \JJ ae,\)\r)$tor) Iruir><$ 

with sound discretion a more punctilious sense of honor, than 
Colonel Moylan." Taking the colonel's advice, therefore, 
he moderated his peremptory message to the following note : 

"My Lord — The propriety or impropriety of your com- 
municating to his Excellency any circumstance which passed 
at your lordship's board at Reading, I leave to be determined 
by your own feelings and the judgment of the public; but as 
the affair has eventually induced reflections on my integrity, 
the sacred duty I owe my honor obliges me to request from 
your lordship's hand that the conversation which you have 
published passed in a private company during a convivial 

His lordship accordingly gave it, under his hand^ that the 
words passed under such circumstances, but under no injunc- 
tion of secrecy. Whereupon "Wilkinson's irritable but easily 
pacified honor was appeased and his sword slept in its sheath. 

At Valley Forge Wilkinson had an interview with Wash- 
ington, in which the subject of General Conway's letter was 
discussed, and the whole correspondence between Gates and 
the commander-in-chief laid befoic him. 

"This exposition," writes Wilkinson, "unfolded to me 
a scene of perfidy and duplicity of which I had no suspi- 
cion." It drew from him the following letter to Washing- 
ton, dated March 28th: "I beg you to receive the grateful 
homage of a sensible mind for your condescension in expos- 
ing to me General Gates's letters, which unmask his artifices 
and efforts to ruin me. The authenticity of the information 
received through Lord Stirling I cannot confirm, as I sol- 
emnly assure your Excellency I do not remember the con- 
versation which passed on that occasion, nor can I recollect 
particular passages of that letter, as I had but a cursory view 
of it at a late hour. However, I so well remember its gen- 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$t:oi) 129 

eral tenor that, although General Gates has pledged his word 
it was a wicked and malicious forgery, I will stake my repu- 
tation, if the genuine letter is produced, that words to the 
same effect will appear. ' ' 

A few days afterward, Wilkinson addressed the follow- 
ing letter to the President of Congress : 

4 'Sir — While I make my acknowledgments to Congress, 
for the appointment of secretary to the Board of War and 
Ordnance, I am sorry I should be constrained to resign that 
office; but, after the acts of treachery and falsehood in 
which I have detected Major-general Gates, the president 
of that board, it is impossible for me to reconcile it to my 
honor to serve with him." * 

After recording this letter in his Memoirs, Wilkinson 
adds: "I had previously resigned my brevet of brigadier- 
general, on grounds of patriotism; but I still retained my 
commission of colonel, which was never to my knowledge 
revoked; yet the dominant influence of General Gates, and 
the feuds, and factions, and intrigues which prevailed in 
Congress and in the army of that day threw me out of em- 
ploy." There we shall leave him; it was a kind of retire- 
ment which we apprehend he had richly merited, and we 
doubt whether his country would have been the loser had 
he been left to enjoy it for the remainder of his days. 

Throughout all the intrigues and maneuvers of the cabal, 
a part of which we have laid before the reader, Washington 
had conducted himself with calmness and self-command, 
speaking on the subject to no one but a very few of his 
friends, lest a knowledge of those internal dissensions should 
injure the service. 

* Wilkinson's Memoirs, vol. i., p. 409. 

130 U/orl^s of U/asl?in$ton Iruip$ 

In a letter to Patrick Henry he gives his closing observa- 
tions concerning them. "I cannot precisely mark the extent 
of their views; but it appeared, in general, that General 
Gates was to be exalted on the ruin of my reputation and 
influence. This I am authorized to say, from undeniable 
facts in my own possession, from publications, the evident 
scope of which could not be mistaken, and from private de- 
tractions industriously circulated. General Mifflin, it is com- 
monly supposed, bore the second part in the cabal; and Gen- 
eral Conway, I know, was a very active and malignant 
partisan ; but I have good reason to believe that their machi- 
nations have recoiled most sensibly upon themselves." 

An able and truthful historian, to whose researches we 
are indebted for most of the documents concerning the cabal, 
gives it as his opinion that there is not sufficient evidence to 
prove any concerted plan of action or any fixed design among 
the leaders. A few aspiring men like Gates and Mifflin 
might have flattered themselves with indefinite hopes, and 
looked forward to a change as promising the best means of 
aiding their ambitious views; but that it was not probable 
they had united in any clear or fixed purpose.* 

These observations are made with that author's usual 
candor and judgment; yet, wanting as the intrigues of the 
cabal might be in plan or fixed design, they were fraught 
with mischief to the public service, inspiring doubts of its 
commanders and seeking to provoke them to desperate en- 
terprises. They harassed Washington in the latter part of 
his campaign ; contributed to the dark cloud that hung over 
his gloomy encampment at Valley Forge, and might have 

* Sparks' Writings of Washington. Vol. v., Appendix — 
where there is a series of documents respecting the Conway 

Cife of U/asl?ii7<$tor) 131 

effected his downfall had he been more irascible in his tem- 
per, more at the mercy of impulse, and less firmly fixed in 
the affections of the people. As it was, they only tended to 
show wherein lay his surest strength. Jealous rivals he 
might have in the army, bitter enemies in Congress, but 
the soldiers loved him, and the large heart of the nation 
always beat true to him. 


The following anecdote of the late Governor Jay, one of 
our purest and most illustrious statesmen, is furnished to us 
by his son, Judge Jay : 

1 ' Shortly before the death of John Adams, I was sitting 
alone with my father, conversing about the American Revo- 
lution. Suddenly he remarked, 'Ah, William! the history 
of that Revolution will never be known. Nobody now alive 
knows it but John Adams and myself.' Surprised at such 
a declaration, I asked him to what he referred? He briefly 
replied, 'The proceedings of the old Congress.' Again I in- 
quired, 'What proceedings?' He answered, 'Those against 
Washington ; from first to last there was a most bitter party 
against him.' " As the old Congress always sat with closed 
doors, the public knew no more of what passed within than 
what it was deemed expedient to disclose. 

132 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)<$ton Iruin$ 


Committee of Arrangement — Reforms in the Army — Scarcity in 
the Camp — The Enemy revel in Philadelphia — Attempt to sur- 
prise Light-Horse Harry — His Gallant Defense — Praised by 
Washington — Promoted — Letter from General Lee — Burgoyne 
returns to England — Mrs. Washington at Valley Forge — Bryan 
Fairfax visits the Camp — Arrival of the Baron Steuben — His 
Character — Disciplines the Army — Greene made Quartermas- 

During the winter's encampment in Valley Forge, 
Washington sedulously applied himself to the formation 
of a new system for the army. At his earnest solicitation 
Congress appointed a committee of five, called the Com- 
mittee of Arrangement, to repair to the camp and assist 
him in the task.* Before their arrival he had collected the 
written opinions and suggestions of his officers on the sub- 
ject, and from these, and his own observations and experi- 
ence, had prepared a document exhibiting the actual state 
of the army, the defects of previous systems, and the altera- 
tions and reforms that were necessary. The committee 
remained three months with him in camp, and then made 
a report to Congress founded on his statement. The reforms 
therein recommended were generally adopted. On one 
point, however, there was much debate. Washington had 
urged that the pay of the officers was insufficient for their 

* Names of the committee — General Reed, Nathaniel 
Folsom, Francis Dana, Charles Carroll, and Gouverneur 

Cife of U/asl?ir?$toi) 133 

decent subsistence, especially during the actual depreciation 
of the currency, and that many resignations were the conse- 
quence. He recommended not only that their pay should 
be increased, but that there should be a provision for their 
future support, by half pay and a pensionary establishment, 
so as to secure them from being absolutely impoverished in 
the service of their country. 

The last recommendation had to encounter a great jeal- 
ousy of the army on the part of Congress, and all that Wash- 
ington could effect, by strenuous and unremitted exertions, 
was a kind of compromise, according to which officers were 
to receive half pay for seven years after the war, and non- 
commissioned officers and privates eighty dollars each. 

The reforms adopted were slow in going into operation. 
In the meantime, the distresses of the army continued to 
increase. The surrounding country for a great distance was 
exhausted, and had the appearance of having been pillaged. 
In some places where the inhabitants had provisions and 
cattle they denied it, intending to take them to Philadelphia, 
where they could obtain greater prices. The undisturbed 
communication with the city had corrupted the minds of 
the people in its vicinage. "This State is sick even unto 
the death," said Gouverneur Morris. 

The parties sent out to forage too often returned empty- 
handed. "For some days past there has been little less than 
a famine in the camp," writes Washington, on one occasion. 
"A part of the army has been a week without any kind of 
flesh, and the rest three or four days. Naked and starving 
as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable 
patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been, 
ere this, excited by their suffering to a general mutiny and 

134 U/or^g of U/as^ir>($tor> Irino$ 

The committee, in their report, declared that the want 
of straw had cost the lives of many of the troops. "Unpro- 
vided with this, or materials to raise them from the cold and 
wet earth, sickness and mortality have spread through their 
quarters in an astonishing degree. Nothing can equal 
their sufferings, except the patience and fortitude with 
which the faithful part of the army endure them." A 
British historian cites, as a proof of the great ascendency 
of Washington over his "raw and undisciplined troops," 
that so many remained with him throughout the winter, 
in this wretched situation and still more wretched plight; 
almost naked, often on short allowance, with great sickness 
and mortality, and a scarcity of medicines, their horses 
perishing by hundreds from hunger and the severity of the 

He gives a striking picture of the indolence and luxury 
which reigned at the same time in the British army in Phila- 
delphia. It is true the investment of the city by the Amer- 
icans rendered provisions dear and fuel scanty; but the 
consequent privations were felt by the inhabitants, not by 
their invaders. The latter reveled as if in a conquered place. 
Private houses were occupied without rendering compensa- 
tion; the officers were quartered on the principal inhabitants, 
many of whom were of the Society of "Friends" ; some even 
transgressed so far against propriety as to introduce their 
mistresses into the quarters thus oppressively obtained. The 
quiet habits of the city were outraged by the dissolute habits 
of a camp. Gaming prevailed to a shameless degree. A 
foreign officer kept a faro bank, at which he made a fortune, 
and some of the young officers ruined themselves. 

"During the whole of this long winter of riot and dissipa- 
tion," continues the same writer, "Washington was suffered 

Cife of U/asr;in<$toD 135 

to remain undisturbed at Valley Forge, with an army not 
exceeding five thousand effective men ; and his cannon frozen 
up and immovable. A nocturnal attack might have forced 
him to a disadvantageous action or compelled him to a disas- 
trous retreat, leaving behind him his sick, cannon, ammuni- 
tion, and heavy baggage. It might have opened the way for 
supplies to the city, and shaken off the lethargy of the Brit- 
ish army. In a word," adds he, "had General Howe led on 
his troops to action, victory was in his power and conquest in 
his train."* Without assenting to the probability of such 
a result, it is certain that the army for a part of the winter, 
while it held Philadelphia in siege, was in as perilous a situa- 
tion as that which kept a bold front before Boston, without 
ammunition to serve its cannon. On one occasion there was 
a flurry at the most advanced post, where Captain Henry 
Lee (Light-horse Harry) with a few of his troops was sta- 
tioned. He had made himself formidable to the enemy by 
harassing their foraging parties. An attempt was made 
to surprise him. A party of about two hundred dragoons, 
taking a circuitous route in the night, came upon him by 
daybreak. He had but a few men with him at the time, 
and took post in a large storehouse. His scanty force did 
not allow a soldier for each window. The dragoons at- 
tempted to force their way into the house. There was a 
warm contest. The dragoons were bravely repulsed, and 
sheered off, leaving two killed and four wounded. "So well 
directed was the opposition," writes Lee to Washington, 
"that we drove them from the stables and saved every horse. 
We have got the arms, some cloaks, etc., of their wounded. 
The enterprise was certainly daring, though the issue of it 
'•ry ignominious. I had not a soldier for each window." 

* Stedman. 

1'Sti U/or^s of U/a8t?ip<$toi) Iruioo; 

Washington, whose heart evidently warmed more and 
more to this young Virginian officer, the son of his ''lowland 
beauty,' ' not content with noticing his exploit in general 
orders, wrote a note to him on the subject, expressed with 
unusual familiarity and warmth. "My dear Lee," writes 
he, "although I have given you my thanks in the general 
orders of this day, for the late instance of your gallant 
behavior, I cannot resist the inclination I feel to repeat them 
again in this manner. I needed no fresh proof of your merit 
to bear you in remembrance. I waited only for the proper 
time and season to show it ; those I hope are not far off. . . . 
Offer my sincere thanks to the whole of your gallant party, 
and assure them that no one felt pleasure more sensibly, or 
rejoiced more sincerely for your and their escape than your 
affectionate, " etc. 

In effect, Washington not long afterward strongly recom- 
mended Lee for the command of two troops of horse, with 
the rank of major, to act as an independent partisan corps. 
"His genius," observes he, "particularly adapts him to a 
command of this nature; and it will be the most agreeable 
to him of any station in which he could be placed." 

It was a high gratification to Washington when Congress 
made this appointment; accompanying it with encomiums 
on Lee as a brave and prudent officer, who had rendered 
essential service to the country, and acquired distinguished 
honor to himself and the corps he commanded. 

About the time that Washington was gladdened by the 
gallantry and good fortune of "Light-horse Harry," he re- 
ceived a letter from another Lee, the captive general, still 
in the hands of the enemy. It had been written nearly a 
month previously. "I have the strongest reason to flatter 
myself," writes Lee, "that you will interest yourself in 

Cife of U/asfyin^ton 137 

whatever interests my comfort and welfare. I think it my 
duty to inform you that my situation is much bettered. It 
is now five days that I am on my parole. I have the full 
liberty of the city and its limits ; have horses at my command 
furnished by Sir Henry Clinton and General Robertson; am 
lodged with two of the oldest and warmest friends I have 
in the world, Colonel Butler and Colonel Disney of the forty- 
second regiment. In short, my situation is rendered as easy, 
comfortable and pleasant as possible for a man who is in any 
sort a prisoner." 

Washington, in reply, expressed his satisfaction at learn- 
ing that he was released from confinement and permitted so 
many indulgences. " You may rest assured," adds he, "that 
I feel myself very much interested in your welfare, and that 
every exertion has been used on my part to effect your ex- 
change. This I have not been able to accomplish. How- 
ever, from the letters which have lately passed between Sir 
"William Howe and myself, upon the subject of prisoners, I 
am authorized to expect that you will return in a few days 
to your friends on parole, as Major-general Prescott will be 
sent in on the same terms for that purpose." 

Difficulties, however, still occurred ; and General Lee and 
Colonel Ethan Allen were doomed for a few months longer 
to suffer the annoyance of hope deferred. 

The embarkation of General Burgoyne and his troops 
from Boston became also a subject of difficulty and delay; 
it being alleged that some stipulations of the treaty of sur- 
render had not l>een complied with. After some correspond- 
ence and discussion, it was resolved in Congress that the 
embarkation should be suspended until a distinct and explicit 
ratification of the convention should be properly notified to 
that body by the court of Great Britain. Burgoyne subso- 

138 U/or^s of U/asfyip^tor) Iruio<$ 

quently obtained permission for his own return to England 
on parole, on account of ill health. 

In the month of February, Mrs. Washington rejoined the 
general at Valley Forge and took up her residence at head- 
quarters. The arrangements consequent to her arrival be- 
speak the simplicity of style in this rude encampment. "The 
general's apartment is very small," writes she to a friend; 
"he has had a log cabin built to dine in, which has made 
our quarters much more tolerable than they were at first." 

Lady Stirling, Mrs. Knox, the wife of the general, and 
the wives of other of the officers were also in the camp. 
The reforms in the commissariat had begun to operate. 
Provisions arrived in considerable quantities; supplies, on 
their way to the Philadelphia market to load the British 
tables, were intercepted and diverted into the hungry camp 
of the patriots; magazines were formed in Valley Forge; 
the threatened famine was averted; "grim-visaged war" 
gradually relaxed his features, and affairs in the encamp- 
ment began to assume a more cheering aspect. 

In the latter part of the winter, Washington was agree- 
ably surprised by a visit from his old and highly esteemed 
i'riend, Bryan Fairfax. That gentleman, although he dis- 
approved of the measures of the British government, which 
had severed the colonies from the mother country, was still 
firm in allegiance to his king. This had rendered his situa- 
tion uncomfortable among his former intimates, who were 
generally embarked in the Revolution. He had resolved, 
therefore, to go to England, and remain there until the peace. 
Washington, who knew his integrity and respected his con- 
scientiousness, received him with the warm cordiality of 
former and happier days; for indeed he brought with him 
recollections always dear to his heart, of Mount Vernon, and 

Cife of U/asl?ir><$toi) 139 

Belvoir, and Virginia life, and the pleasant banks of the 
Potomac. As Mr. Fairfax intended to embark at New York, 
Washington furnished him with a passport to that city. 
Being arrived there, the conscience of Mr. Fairfax prevented 
him from taking the oaths prescribed, which he feared might 
sever him from his wife and children, and he obtained per- 
mission from the British commander to return to them. On 
his way home he visited Washington, and the kindness he 
again experienced from him, so different from the harshness 
with which others had treated him, drew from him a grateful 
letter of acknowledgment after he had arrived in Virginia. 

" There are times," said he, "when favors conferred make 
a greater impression than at others, for, though I have re- 
ceived many, I hope I have not been unmindful of them; 
yet, that at a time your popularity was at the highest and 
mine at the lowest, and when it is so common for men's 
resentments to run high against those who differ from them 
in opinion, you should act with your wonted kindness toward 
me, has affected me more than any favor I have received ; 
and could not be believed by some in New York, it being 
above the run of common minds." * 

Washington, in reply, expressed himself gratified by the 
sentiments of his letter, and confident of their sincerity. 
"The friendship," added he, "which I ever professed and 
felt for you, met with no diminution from the difference in 
our political sentiments. I know the rectitude of my own 
intentions, and, believing in the sincerity of yours, lamented, 

* Bryan Fairfax continued to reside in Virginia until his 
death, which happened in L802, at seventy-five years of age. 
He became proprietor of Belvoir and heir to the family title, 
but th" latter he never assumed. During the latter years of 
hifi life he was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church. 

140 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii}$toi) Irvir)<$ 

though I did not condemn, your renunciation of the creed 
I had adopted. Nor do I think any person or power ought 
to do it, while your conduct is not opposed to the general 
interest of the people and the measures they are pursuing; 
the latter, that is our actions, depending upon ourselves, 
may be controlled ; while the powers of thinking, originating 
in higher causes, cannot always be molded to our wishes." 
The most important arrival in the camp was that of the 
Baron Steuben, toward the latter part of February. He 
was a seasoned soldier from the old battlefields of Europe ; 
having served in the seven years' war, been aid-de-camp to 
the great Frederick, and connected with the quartermaster- 
general's department. Honors had been heaped upon him 
in Germany. After leaving the Prussian army he had been 
grand -marshal of the court of the Prince of Hohenzollern- 
Hechingen, colonel in the circle of Suabia, lieutenant-general 
under the Prince Margrave of Baden, and knight of the 
Order of Fidelity; and he had declined liberal offers from 
the King of Sardinia and the Emperor of Austria. With an 
income of about three thousand dollars, chiefly arising from 
various appointments, he was living pleasantly in distin- 
guished society at the German courts, and making occasional 
visits to Paris, when he was persuaded by the Count de St. 
Germain, French Minister of War, and others of the French 
cabinet, to come out to America and engage in the cause 
they were preparing to befriend. Their object was to secure 
for the American armies the services of an officer of experi- 
ence and a thorough disciplinarian. Through their persua- 
sions he resigned his several offices, and came out at forty- 
eight years of age, a soldier of fortune, to the rude fighting 
grounds of America, to aid a half-disciplined people in their 
struggle for liberty. No certainty of remuneration was held 

Cife of U7asr;ir;<$tor> 141 

out to him, but there was an opportunity for acquiring mili- 
tary glory; the probability of adequate reward should the 
young republic be successful ; and it was hinted that, at all 
events, the French court would not suffer him to be a 
loser. As his means, on resigning his offices, were small, 
Beaumarchais furnished funds for his immediate ex- 

The baron had brought strong letters from Dr. Franklin 
and Mr. Deane, our envoys at Paris, and from the Count 
St. Germain. Landing at Portsmouth in New Hampshire, 
December 1st, he had forwarded copies of his letters to 
Washington. "The object of my greatest ambition," writes 
he, "is to render your country all the service in my power, 
and to deserve the title of a citizen of America by fighting 
for the cause of your liberty. If the distinguished ranks in 
which I have served in Europe should be an obstacle, I 
had rather serve under your Excellency as a volunteer, 
than to be an object of discontent among such deserv- 
ing officers as have already distinguished themselves 
among you." 

"I would say, moreover," adds he, "were it not for the 
fear of offending your modesty, that your Excellency is 
the only person under whom, after having served under the 
King of Prussia, I could wish to pursue an art to which I 
have wholly given myself up." 

By Washington's direction, the baron had proceeded 
direct to Congress. His letters procured him a distinguished 
reception from the president. A committee was appointed 
to confer with him. He offered his services as a volunteer, 
making no condition for rank or pay, but trusting, should 

prove himself worthy and the cause be crowned with 
lie would be indemnified for the sacrifices lie had 

142 ll/or^s of U/asl^ip^tor) Iruir?$ 

made, and receive such further compensation as he might 
be thought to merit. 

The committee having made their report, the baron's 
proffered services were accepted with a vote of thanks for 
his disinterestedness, and he was ordered to join the army 
at Valley Forge, That army, in its ragged condition and 
squalid quarters, presented a sorry aspect to a strict dis- 
ciplinarian from Germany, accustomed to the order and 
appointments of European camps; and the baron often de- 
clared that under such circumstances no army in Europe 
could be kept together for a single month. The liberal mind 
of Steuben, however, made every allowance ; and Washing- 
ton soon found in him a consummate soldier, free from 
pedantry or pretension,, 

The evils arising from a want of uniformity in discipline 
and maneuvers throughout the army had long caused Wash- 
ington to desire a well-organized inspectorship. He knew 
that the same desire was felt by Congress. Conway had 
been appointed to that office, but had never entered upon 
its duties. The baron appeared to be peculiarly well quali- 
fied for such a department; Washington determined, there- 
fore, to set on foot a temporary institution of the kind. 
Accordingly he proposed to the baron to undertake the office 
of inspector-general. The latter cheerfully agreed. Two 
ranks of inspectors were appointed under him; the lowest 
to inspect brigades, the highest to superintend several of 
these. Among the inspectors was a French gentleman 
of the name of Ternant, chosen not only for his intrinsic 
merit and abilities, but on account of his being well versed 
in the English as well as the French language, which made 
him a necessary assistant to the baron, who, at times, needed 
an interpreter. The gallant Fleury, to whom Congress had 

Cife of U/ast?iD<$tOD 143 

given the rank and pay of lieutenant-colonel, and who 
had exercised the office of aid-major in France, was soon 
after employed likewise as an inspector. * 

In a little while the whole army was under drill; for a 
great part, made up ot raw militia, scarcely knew the man- 
ual exercise. Many of the officers, too, knew little of ma- 
neuvering, and the best of them had much to learn. The 
baron furnished his sub-inspectors with written instructions 
relative to their several functions. He took a company of 
soldiers under his immediate training, and after he had 
sufficiently schooled it, made it a model for the others, ex- 
hibiting the maneuvers they had to practice. 

It was a severe task at first for the aid-de-camp of the 
Great Frederick to operate upon such raw materials. His 
ignorance of the language, too, increased the difficulty, 
where maneuvers were to be explained or rectified. He 
was in despair, until an officer of a New York regiment, 
Captain Walker, who spoke French, stepped forward and 
offered to act as interpreter. "Had I seen an angel from 
heaven," says the baron, "I could not have been more 
rejoiced." He made Walker his aid-de-camp, and from 
that time had him always at hand. 

For a time, there was nothing but drills throughout the 
camp, then gradually came evolutions of every kind. The 
officers were schooled as well as the men. The troops, says 
a person who was present in the camp, were paraded in a 
single line with shouldered arms; every officer in his place. 
The baron passed in front, then took the musket of each 
soldier in hand to see whether it was clean and well polished. 

* Washington to the President of Congress. Sparks, 
vol. v., p. 347. 

144 U/or^s of U/ast?ir)$tor) Irvip$ 

and examined whether the men's accouterments were in 
good order. 

He was sadly worried for a time with the militia; espe- 
cially when any maneuver was to be performed. The men 
blundered in their exercise; the baron blundered in his 
English ; his French and German were of no avail ; he lost 
his temper, which was rather warm ; swore in all three lan- 
guages at once, which made the matter worse, and at length 
called his aid to his assistance ; to help him curse the block- 
heads, as it was pretended — but no doubt to explain the 

Still the grand-marshal of the court of Hohenzollern 
mingled with the veteran soldier of Frederick, and tempered 
his occasional bursts of impatience, and he had a kind, gen- 
erous heart, that soon made him a favorite with the men. 
His discipline extended to their comforts. He inquired into 
their treatment by the officers. He examined the doctor's 
reports; visited the sick, and saw that they were well lodged 
and attended. 

He was an example, too, of the regularity and system he 
exacted. One of the most alert and indefatigable men in the 
camp; up at daybreak if not before, whenever there were to 
be any important maneuvers, he took his cup of coffee and 
smoked his pipe while his servant dressed his hair, and by 
sunrise he was in the saddle, equipped at all points, with 
the star of his order of knighthood glittering on his breast, 

* On one occasion, having exhausted all his German and 
French oaths, he vociferated to his aid-de-camp, Major 
Walker, "Vien mon ami "Walker — vien mon bon ami. Sacra 
— G — dam de gaucherie of dese badauts — je ne puis plus — I 
can curse dem no more." — Carden, Anecdotes of the Ameri- 
can War, p. 341. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$eor? 145 

and was off to the parade alone, if his suite were not ready 
to attend him. 

The strong good sense of the baron was evinced in the 
manner in which he adapted his tactics to the nature of 
the army and the situation of the country, instead of adher- 
ing with bigotry to the systems of Europe. His instructions 
were appreciated by all. The officers received them gladly 
and conformed to them. The men soon became active and 
adroit. The army gradually acquired a proper organization, 
and began to operate like a great machine ; and Washington 
found in the baron an intelligent, disinterested, truthful 
coadjutor, well worthy of the badge he wore as a knight 
of the Order of Fidelity, 

Another great satisfaction to Washington was the ap- 
pointment by Congress (March 3d) of Greene to the office 
of quartermaster-general ; still retaining his rank of major- 
general in the army. The confusion and derangement of 
this department during the late campaign, while filled by 
General Mifflin, had been a source of perpetual embarrass- 
ment. That officer, however capable of doing his duty, was 
hardly ever at hand. The line and the staff were conse- 
quently at variance; and the country was plundered in a 
way sufficient to breed a civil war between the staff and the 
inhabitants. Washington was often obliged to do the duties 
of the office himself, until he declared to the Committee of 
Congress that "he would stand quartermaster no longer. ,, * 
Greene undertook the office with reluctance, and agreed to 
perform the military duties of it without compensation for 
the space of a year. He found it in great disorder and con- 
fusion, but by extraordinary exertions and excellent system 

* Correspondence of the Revolution, vol. ii., p. .'74. 
Vol. XIV.— ***7 

i46 U/orl^s of Wa&tyqQtOT) Iruir?$ 

so arranged it as to put the army in a condition to take the 
field and move with rapidity the moment it should be re- 
quired. * 

The favor in which Greene stood with the commander-in- 
chief was a continual cause of mean jealousy and cavil among 
the intriguing and envious ; but it arose from the abundant 
proofs "Washington had received, in times of trial and diffi- 
culty, that he had a brave, affectionate heart, a sound head, 
and an efficient arm, on all of which he could thoroughly 


Fortifications of the Hudson — Project to surprise Sir Henry Clinton 
— General Howe forages the Jerseys — Ships and Stores burned 
at Bordentown — Plans for the next Campaign— Gates and Mifflin 
under Washington's Command — Downfall of Conway — Lord 
North's Conciliatory Bills — Sent to Washington by Governor 
Tryon — Resolves of Congress — Letter of Washington to Tryon 
— Rejoicing at Valley Forge — The Mischianza 

The Highlands of the Hudson had been carefully recon- 
noitered in the course of the winter by General Putnam, 
Governor Clinton, his brother James, and several others, 
and subsequently by a committee from the New York Legis- 
lature, to determine upon the most eligible place to be forti- 
fied. "West Point was ultimately chosen; and Putnam was 
urged by Washington to have the works finished as soon 
as possible. The general being called to Connecticut by his 
private affairs, and being involved in an inquiry to be made 
into the loss of Forts Montgomery and Clinton, Major-general 
McDougall was ordered to the Highlands, to take command 

* Washington to Greene. — Writings of Washington, vol. 
vii., p. 152. 

Cife of U/asl?ir>i$toi) 147 

of the different posts in that department, and to press for- 
ward the construction of the works, in which he was to be 
assisted by Kosciuszko as engineer. 

Before General McDougall's arrival, Brigadier-general 
Parsons had. commanded at West Point. A letter of Wash- 
ington to the latter suggests an enterprise of a somewhat 
romantic character. It was no less than to pounce upon Sir 
Henry Clinton and carry him off prisoner from his headquar- 
ters in the cit} r of New York. The general was quartered in 
the Kennedy house near the Battery, and but a short dis- 
tance from the Hudson. His situation was rather lonely; 
most of the houses in that quarter having been consumed in 
the great fire. A retired way led from it through a back 
yard or garden to the river bank ; where Greenwich Street 
extends at present. The idea of Washington was that an 
enterprising party should embark in eight or ten whale-boats 
at King's Ferry, just below the Highlands, on the first of 
the ebb, and early in the evening. In six or eight hours, 
with change of hands, the boats might be rowed under the 
shadows of the western shore, and approach New York with 
muffled oars. There were no ships of war at that time on 
that side of the city; all were in the East River. The offi- 
cers and men to be employed in the enterprise were to be 
dressed in red, and much in the style of the British soldiery. 
Having captured Sir Henry, they might return in their swift 
whale boats with the flood tide, or a party of horse might 
meet them at Fort Lee. "What guards ma} 7 be at or near 
3 quarters, I cannot sa}~ with precision," writes Washing- 
ton, "and therefore shall not add anything on this 8 
But I think it one of the most practicable, and surely it will 
be among the most desirable and honorable things imagi- 
nable to take him prisoner*" 

148 U/orKs of \JJastyr)QtOT) Iruipo; 

The enterprise, we believe, was never attempted. Colonel 
Hamilton is said to have paralyzed it. He agreed with Wash- 
ington that there could be little doubt of its success; "but, 
sir," said he, "have you examined the consequences of it?" 
"In what respect?" asked the general. "Why," replied 
Hamilton, "we shall rather lose than gain by removing Sir 
Henry from the command of the British army, because we 
perfectly understand his character; and by taking him off 
we only make way for some other, perhaps an abler officer, 
whose character and dispositions we have to learn." The 
shrewd suggestions of his aid-de-camp had their effect on 
Washington, and the project to abduct Sir Henry was aban- 

The spring opened without any material alteration in the 
dispositions of the armies. Washington at one time expected 
an attack upon his camp; but Sir William was deficient in 
the necessary enterprise ; he contented himself with sending 
out parties, which foraged the surrounding country for many 
miles, and scoured part of # the Jerseys, bringing in consider- 
able supplies. These forays were in some instances accom- 
panied by wanton excesses and needless bloodshed ; the more 
unjustifiable, as they met with feeble resistance, especially 
in tho Jerseys, where it was difficult to assemble militia in 
sufficient force to oppose them. 

Another ravaging party ascended the Delaware in flat- 
t>ottomed boats and galleys; set fire to public storehouses in 
Bordentown containing provisions and munitions of war; 
burned two frigates, several privateers, and a number of 
vessels of various classes, some of them laden with military 
stores. Had the armed vessels been sunk, according to the 

* Wilkinson's Memoirs, vol. i., p. 852. 

Cife of U/asfrin^tor; 149 

earnest advice of Washington, the greater part of them 
might have been saved. 

A circular letter was sent by Washington on the 20th to 
all the general officers in camp, requesting their opinions in 
writing Which of three plans to adopt for the next campaign : 
to attempt the recovery of Philadelphia ; to transfer the war 
to the north and make an attempt on New York; or to re- 
main quiet; in a secure and fortified camp, disciplining and 
arranging the army until the enemy should begin their 
operations; then to be governed by circumstances. 

Just after the issue of this circular, intelligence received 
from Congress showed that the ascendency of the cabal was 
at an end. By a resolution of that body on the 15th, Gates 
was directed to resume the command of the Northern de- 
partment, and to proceed forthwith to Fishkill for that pur- 
pose. He was invested with powers for completing the 
works on the Hudson, and authorized to carry on opera- 
tions against the enemy should any favorable opportunity 
offer, for which purposes he might call for the artificers and 
militia of New York and the Eastern States; but he was not 
to undertake any expedition against New York without pre- 
viously consulting the commander-in-chief. Washington 
was requested to assemble a council of major-generals to 
determine upon a plan of operations, and Gates and Mifflin, 
by a subsequent resolution, were ordered to attend that coun- 
cil. This arrangement, putting Gates under Washington's 
order, evinced the determination of Congress to sustain the 
latter in his proper authority. 

Washington in a reply to the President of Congress, who 
had informed him of this arrangement, mentioned the circu- 
lar he had just issued. "There is not a moment to be de- 
layed," observed he, "in forming some general system, and 

150 U/orl^s of U/asI?ir)$tor) Iruio$ 

1 only wait the arrival of Generals Gates and Mifflin to sum- 
mon a council for the purpose.' ' The next day (24th) he 
addressed a letter to Gates, requesting him, should he not 
find it inconvenient, to favor him with a call at the camp, 
to discuss the plan of operations for the campaign. A simi- 
lar invitation was sent by him to Mifflin; who eventually 
resumed his station in the line. 

And here we may note the downfall of the intriguing 
individual who had given his name to the now extinguished 
cabal. Conway, after the departure of Lafayette and De 
Kalb from Albany, had remained but a short time in the 
command there, being ordered to join the army under Gen- 
eral McDougall, stationed at Fishkill. Thence he was soon 
ordered back to Albany, whereupon he wrote an impertinent 
letter to the President of Congress, complaining that he was 
"boxed about in a most indecent manner." 

"What is the meaning," demanded he, "of removing me 
from the scene of action on the opening of the campaign? I 
did not deserve this burlesque disgrace, and my honor will 
not permit me to bear it." In a word, he intimated a wish 
that the president would make his resignation acceptable to 

To his surprise and consternation, his resignation was 
immediately accepted. He instantly wrote to the president, 
declaring that his meaning had been misapprehended ; and 
accounting for it by some orthographical or grammatical 
faults in his letter, being an Irishman, who had learned his 
English in France. "I had no thoughts of resigning," adds 
he, "while there was a prospect of firing a single shot, and 
especially at the beginning of a campaign which in my opin- 
ion will be a very hot one." 

All his efforts to get reinstated were unavailing, though 

Cife of U/asr;iD<$too 151 

he went to Yorktown to make them in person. "Conway's 
appointment to the inspectorship of the army, with the rank 
of major-general, after he had insulted the commander-in- 
chief," observes Wilkinson, "was a splenetic measure of a 
majority of Congress, as factious as it was ill-judged." 

They had become heartily ashamed of it; especially as 
it had proved universally unpopular. The office of inspector- 
general with the rank of major-general, with the proper pay 
and appointments, were, at Washington's recommendation, 
voted by them on the 6th of May to Baron Steuben, who had 
already performed the duties in so satisfactory a manner.* 

The capture of Burgoyne and his army was now operat- 

* As General Conway takes no further part in the events 
of this history we shall briefly dispose of him. Disappointed 
in his aims, he became irritable in his temper and offensive 
in his manners, and frequently indulged in acrimonious lan- 
guage respecting the commander-in-chief that was highly 
resented by the army. In consequence of some dispute he 
became involved in a duel with General John Cadwalader, 
in which he was severely wounded. Thinking his end ap- 
proaching, he addressed the following penitential letter to 
Washington : 

"Philadelphia, 23d July, 1778. 

"Sir — I find myself just able to hold the pen during a few 
minutes, and take this opportunity of expressing my sincere 
grief for having done, written, or said anything disagreeable 
to your Excellency. My career will soon be over, therefore 
justice and truth prompt me to declare my last sentiments. 
You are in my eyes the great and good man, May you long 
enjoy the love, veneration, and esteem of these States, whose 
liberties you have asserted by your virtues. 

"I am, with the greatest respect, etc., 

"Thomas Conway." 

Contrary to all expectation, he recovered from his wound ; 
but, finding himself without rank in the army, covered with 
public opprobrium, and his very name become a byword, he 
abandoned a country in which he had dishonored himself, 
and embarked for France in the course of the year. 

152 U/orl^s of U/asf?ii?$toi) Iruir}$ 

ing with powerful effect on the cabinets of both England 
and France. With the former it was coupled with the ap- 
prehension that France was about to espouse the American 
cause. The consequence was Lord North's " Conciliatory 
Bills," as they were called, submitted by him to Parliament, 
and passed with but slight opposition. One of these bills 
regulated taxation in the American colonies, in a manner 
which, it was trusted, would obviate every objection. The 
other authorized the appointment of commissioners clothed 
with powers to negotiate with the existing governments; to 
proclaim a cessation of hostilities; to grant pardons, and 
to adopt other measures of a conciliatory nature. 

"If what was now proposed was a right measure, " ob- 
serves a British historian, "it ought to have been adopted at 
first and before the sword was drawn ; on the other hand, if 
the claims of the mother country over her colonies were orig- 
inally worth contending for, the strength and resources of 
the nation were not yet so far exhausted as to justify minis- 
ters in relinquishing them without a further struggle." * 

Intelligence that a treaty between France and the United 
States had actually been concluded at Paris induced the Brit- 
ish ministry to hurry off a draft of the bills to America, to 
forestall the effects of the treaty upon the public mind. Gen- 
eral Tryon caused copies of it to be printed in New York and 
circulated through the country. He sent several of them to 
General Washington, 15th April, with a request that they 
should be communicated to the officers and privates of his 
army. Washington felt the singular impertinence of the re- 
quest. He transmitted them to Congress, observing that the 
time to entertain such overtures was past. "Nothing short 
of independence, it appears to me, can possibly do. A peace 

* Stedman. 

Cife of U/a8t?ir><$toi) 153 

on other terms would, if I may be allowed the expression, 
be a peace of war. The injuries we have received from the 
British nation were so unprovoked, and have been so great 
and so many, that they can never be forgotten." These and 
other objections advanced by him met with the concurrence 
of Congress, and it was unanimously resolved that no con- 
ference would be held, no treaty made with any commission- 
ers on the part of Great Britain, until that power should have 
withdrawn its fleets and armies, or acknowledged in positive 
and express terms the independence of the United States. 

On the following day, April 23, a resolution was passed 
recommending to the different States to pardon, under such 
restrictions as might be deemed expedient, such of their citi- 
zens as, having levied war against the United States, should 
return to their allegiance before the 16th of June. Copies of 
this resolution were struck off in English and German, and 
inclosed by Washington in a letter to General Tryon, in 
which he indulged in a vein of grave irony. 

"Sir — Your letter of the 17th and a triplicate of the 
same were duly received. I had the pleasure of seeing the 
drafts of the two bills before those which were sent by you 
came to hand; and I can assure you they were suffered to 
have a free currency among the officers and men under my 
command, in whose fidelity to the United States I have the 
most perfect confidence. The inclosed 'Gazette,' published 
the 24th at Yorktown, will show you that it is the wish of 
Congress that they should have an unrestrained circulation. * 

* In the " Gazette" of that date the Conciliatory Bills 
were published by order of Congress; as an instance of their 
reception by the public, we may mention that in Rhode Isl- 
and the populace burned them under the gallows. 

154 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Iruii)$ 

"I take the liberty to transmit to you a few printed copies 
of a resolution of Congress of the 23d instant, and to request 
that you will be instrumental in communicating its contents, 
so far as it may be in your power, to the persons who are 
the objects of its operations. The benevolent purpose it is 
intended to answer will, I persuade myself, sufficiently rec- 
ommend it to your candor. I am, sir," etc. 

The tidings of the capitulation of Burgoyne had been 
equally efficacious in quickening the action of the French 
cabinet. The negotiations, which had gone on so slowly as 
almost to reduce our commissioners to despair, were brought 
to a happy termination, and on the 2d of May, ten days after 
the passing by Congress of the resolves just cited, a messen- 
ger arrived express from France with two treaties, one of 
amity and commerce, the other of defensive alliance, signed 
in Paris on the 6th of February by M. Girard on the part of 
France, and by Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur 
Lee on the part of the United States. This last treaty stipu- 
lated that should war ensue between France and England, 
it should be made a common cause by the contracting par- 
ties, in which neither should make truce nor peace with 
Great Britain without the consent of the other, nor either 
lay down their arms until the independence of the United 
States was established. 

These treaties were unanimously ratified by Congress, 
and their promulgation was celebrated by public rejoicings 
throughout the country. The 6th of May was set apart for 
a military fete at the camp at Valley Forge. The army was 
assembled in best array ; there was solemn thanksgiving by 
the chaplains at the head of each brigade ; after which a 
grand parade, a national discharge of thirteen guns, a gen- 

Cife of U/asl?in<$ton 155 

eral feu de joie, and shouts of the whole army, "Long live 
the King of France— Long live the friendly European Pow- 
ers — Huzza for the American States." A banquet suc- 
ceeded, at which Washington dined in public with all the 
officers of his army, attended by a band of music. Patriotic 
toasts were given and heartily cheered. "I never was pres- 
ent,' ' writes a spectator, "where there was such unfeigned 
and perfect joy as was discovered in every countenance. 
Washington retired at five o'clock, on which there was uni- 
versal huzzaing and clapping of hands — 'Long live General 
Washington.' The non-commissioned officers and privates 
followed the example of their officers as he rode past their 
brigades. The shouts continued till he had proceeded a quar- 
ter of a mile and a thousand hats were tossed in the air. 
Washington and his suite turned round several times and 
cheered in reply." Gates and Mifflin, if in the camp at the 
time, must have seen enough to convince them that the com- 
mander-in-chief was supreme in the affections of the army. 

On the 8th, the council of war, ordered by Congress, was 
convened; at which were present Major-generals Gates, 
Greene, Stirling, Mifflin, Lafayette, De Kalb, Armstrong, 
and Steuben, and Brigadier-generals Knox and Duportail. 
After the state of the forces, British and American, their 
number and distribution, had been laid before the council 
by the commander-in-chief, and a full discussion had been 
held, it was unanimously determined to remain on the de- 
fensive, and not attempt any offensive operation until some 
opportunity should occur to strike a successful blow. Gen- 
eral Lee was not present at the council, but afterward signed 
the decision. 

While the Conciliatory Bills failed thus signally of their 
anticii ffect upon the Congress and people of the United 

356 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$t:oi) Irvir?$ 

States, they were regarded with indignation by the royal 
forces in America, as offering a humiliating contrast to the 
high and arrogant tone hitherto indulged toward the " reb- 
els. ' ' They struck dismay too into the hearts of the Ameri- 
can royalists and refugees; who beheld in them sure prog- 
nostics of triumph to the cause they had opposed, and of 
mortification and trouble, if not of exile, to themselves. 

The military career of Sir William Howe in the United 
States was now drawing to a close. His conduct of the war 
had given much dissatisfaction in England. His enemies 
observed that everything gained by the troops was lost by 
the general; that he had suffered an enemy with less than 
four thousand men to reconquer a province which he had 
recently reduced, and lay a kind of siege to his army in their 
winter quarters;* and that he had brought a sad reverse 
upon the British arms by failing to co-operate vigorously 
and efficiently with Burgoyne. 

Sir William, on his part, had considered himself slighted 
by the ministry; his suggestions, he said, were disregarded 
and the re-enforcements withheld which he considered indis- 
pensable for the successful conduct of the war. He had 
therefore tendered his resignation, which had been promptly 
accepted, and Sir Henry Clinton ordered to relieve him. 
Clinton arrived in Philadelphia on the 8th of May, and took 
command of the army on the 11th. 

Sir William Howe was popular among the officers of his 
army, from his open and engaging manners; and, perhaps, 
from the loose rule which indulged them in their social ex- 
cesses. A number of them combined to close his inglorious 
residence in Philadelphia by a still more inglorious pageant. 

* Stedman, vol. i., p. 384, 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 157 

It was called the Mischianza (or Medley), a kind of regatta 
and tournament, the former on the Delaware, the latter at a 
country-seat on its banks. 

The regatta was in three divisions; each with its band of 
music, to which the oarsmen kept time. 

The river was crowded with boats, which were kept at a 
distance from the squadrons of gayly decorated barges, and 
the houses, balconies and wharfs along the shore were filled 
with spectators. 

"We forbear to give the fulsome descriptions of the land 
part of the Mischianza furnished by various pens; and will 
content ourselves with the following, from the pen of a Brit- 
ish writer who was present , It illustrates sufficiently the 
absurdity of the scene. 

"All the colors of the army were placed in a grand 
avenue three hundred feet in length, lined with the king's 
troops, between two triumphal arches, for the two brothers, 
the Admiral Lord Howe and the General Sir William Howe, 
to march along in pompous procession, followed by a numer- 
ous train of attendants, with seven silken Knights of the 
Blended Rose, and seven more of the Burning Mountain, 
and fourteen damsels dressed in the Turkish fashion, to an 
area of one hundred and fifty yards square, lined also with 
the king's troops, for the exhibition of a tilt and tournament, 

mock fight of old chivalry, in honor of those two heroes. 
On the top of each triumphal arch was a figure of Fame be- 
spangled with stars, blowing from her trumpet, in letters of 
light, Tes lauriers sont immortels (Thy laurels are immor- 
On this occasion, according to the same writer, "men 
compared the importance of Sir William's services with the 
merit he assumed, and the gravity with which he sustained 
the most excessive praise and adulation." 

158 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top Iruir>$ 

The unfortunate Major Andre, at that time a captain, 
was very efficient in getting up this tawdry and somewhat 
effeminate pageant. He had promoted private theatricals 
during the winter and aided in painting scenery and devis- 
ing decorations. He wrote a glowing description of the 
Mischianza, in a letter to a friend, pronouncing it as per- 
haps the most splendid entertainment ever given by any 
army to their general. He figured in it as one of the 
Knights of the Blended Rose. In a letter written to a 
lady, in the following year, he alludes to his preparations 
for it as having made him a complete milliner, and offers 
his services to furnish her supplies in that department. At 
the time of this silken and mock heroic display, the number 
of British chivalry in Philadelphia was nineteen thousand 
five hundred and thirty, cooped up in a manner by an 
American force at Valley Forge, amounting, according to 
official returns, to eleven thousand eight hundred men. 
Could any triumphal pageant be more ill-placed and ill- 
timed ! 


Lafayette detached to keep Watch on Philadelphia — His Position 
at Barren Hill — Plan of Sir Henry to entrap him — Washington 
alarmed for his Safety — Stratagem of the Marquis — Exchange 
of General Lee and Colonel Ethan Allen — Allen at Valley Forge 
— Washington's Opinion of him — Preparations in Philadelphia 
to evacuate — Washington's Measures in Consequence — Arrival 
of Commissioners from England — Their Disappointment — Their 
Proceedings — Their Failure — Their Manifesto 

Soon after Sir Henry Clinton had taken the command, 
there were symptoms of an intention to evacuate Phila- 
delphia. Whither the enemy would thence direct their 

Cife of U/asbii}<$toi> 159 

course was a matter of mere conjecture. Lafayette was 
therefore detached by Washington, with twenty-one hun- 
dred chosen men and five pieces of cannon, to take a posi- 
tion nearer the city, where he might be at hand to gain in- 
formation, watch the movements of the enemy, check their 
predatory excursions, and fall on their rear when in the act 
of withdrawing. 

The marquis crossed the Schuylkill on the 18th of May 
and proceeded to Barren Hill, about half way between 
Washington's camp and Philadelphia and about eleven 
miles from both. Here he planted his cannon facing the 
south, with rocky ridges bordering the Schuylkill on his 
right ; woods and stone houses on his left. Behind him the 
roads forked, one branch leading to Matson's Ford of the 
Schuylkill, the other by Swede's Ford to Valley Forge. In 
advance of his left wing was McLane's company and about 
fifty Indians. Pickets and videttes were placed in the woods 
to the south, through which the roads led to Philadelphia, 
and a body of six hundred Pennsylvania militia were sta- 
tioned to keep watch on the roads leading to White Marsh. 

In the meantime Sir Henry Clinton, having received in- 
telligence through his spies of this movement of Lafayette, 
concerted a plan to entrap the young French nobleman. 
Five thousand men were sent out at night, under General 
Grant, to make a circuitous march by White Marsh and get 
in the rear of the Americans; another force under General 
Grey was to cross to the west side of the Schuylkill, and 
take post below Barren Hill, while Sir Henry in person was 
to lead a third division along the Philadelphia road. 

The plan came near being completely successful, through 
tlir remissness of the Pennsylvania militia, who had l« i i't 

ir post of observation. Early in the morning, as Lafa 

160 U/or^s of U/as^ip^tor) Iruir}<$ 

ette was conversing with a young girl who was to go to 
Philadelphia and collect information under pretext of visit- 
ing her relatives, word was brought that red coats had been 
descried in the woods near White Marsh. Lafayette was 
expecting a troop of American dragoons in that quarter, who 
wore scarlet uniforms, and supposed these to be them ; to be 
certain, however, he sent out an officer to reconnoiter. The 
latter soon came spurring back at full speed. A column of 
the enemy had pushed forward on the road from White 
Marsh, were within a mile of the camp, and had possession 
of the road leading to Valley Forge. Another column was 
advancing on the Philadelphia road. In fact, the young 
French general was on the point of being surrounded by a 
greatly superior force. 

Lafayette saw his danger, but maintained his presence of 
mind. Throwing out small parties of troops to show them- 
selves at various points of the intervening wood, as if an at- 
tack on Grant was meditated, he brought that general to a 
halt, to prepare for action, while he with his main body 
pushed forward for Matson's Ford on the Schuylkill. 

The alarm-guns at sunrise had apprised Washington that 
the detachment under Lafayette was in danger. The troops 
at Valley Forge were instantly under arms. Washington, 
with his aides-de-camp and some of his general officers, gal- 
loped to the summit of a hill and anxiously reconnoitered the 
scene of action with a glass. His solicitude for the marquis 
was soon relieved. The stratagem of the youthful warrior 
had been crowned with success. He completely gained the 
march upon General Grant, reached Matson's Ford in safety, 
crossed it in great order, and took a strong position on high 
grounds which commanded it. The enemy arrived at the 
river just in time for a skirmish as the artillery was cross- 

Cife of U/asfyin^tor; 161 

ing. Seeing that Lafayette had extricated himself from 
their hands, and was so strongly posted, they gave over all 
attack, and returned somewhat disconcerted to Philadelphia; 
while the youthful marquis rejoined the army at Valley 
Forge, where he was received with acclamations. 

The exchange of General Lee for General Prescott, so 
long delayed by various impediments, had recently been 
effected, and Lee was reinstated in his position of second 
in command. 

Colonel Ethan Allen, also, had been released from his 
long captivity in exchange for Colonel Campbell. Allen 
paid a visit to the camp at Valley Forge, where he had 
much to tell of his various vicissitudes and hardships. 
"Washington, in a letter to the President of Congress sug- 
gesting that something should be done for Allen, observes: 
11 His fortitude and firmness seem to have placed him out of 
the reach of misfortune. There is an original something 
about him that commands admiration, and his long captiv- 
ity and sufferings have only served to increase, if possible, 
his enthusiastic zeal. He appears very desirous of render- 
ing his services to the States, and of being employed ; and at 
the same time he does not discover any ambition for high 

In a few days, a brevet commission of colonel arrived for 
Allen; but he had already left camp for his home in Ver- 
mont, where he appears to have hung up his sword; for we 
meet with no further achievements by him on record. 

Indications continued to increase of the departure of troops 
from Philadelphia. The military quarters were in a stir and 
bustle; effects were packed up; many sold at auction; bag- 
gage and heavy cannon embarked; transports fitted up for 
the reception of horses, and hay taken on board. Was the 

162 U/orl^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> Iruir}^ 

whole army to leave the city, or only a part? The former 
was probable. A war between France and England ap- 
peared to be impending: in that event Philadelphia would 
be an ineligible position for the British army. 

New York, it was concluded, would be the place of des- 
tination; either as a rendezvous, or a post whence to attempt 
the occupation of the Hudson. "Would they proceed thither 
by land or water? Supposing the former, Washington would 
gladly have taken post in Jersey to oppose or harass them, 
on their march through that State. His camp, however, 
was encumbered by upward of three thousand sick; and 
covered a great amount of military stores. He dared not 
weaken it by detaching a sufficient force; especially as it 
was said the enemy intended to attack him before their 

For three weeks affairs remained in this state. Wash- 
ington held his army ready to march toward the Hudson at 
a moment's warning ; and sent General Maxwell with a bri- 
gade of Jersey troops to co-operate with Major-general Dick- 
inson and the militia of that State in breaking down the 
bridges and harassing the enemy, should they actually at- 
tempt to march through it. At the same time he wrote to 
General Gates, who was now at his post on the Hudson, 
urging him to call in as large a force of militia as he could 
find subsistence for, and to be on the alert for the protection 
of that river. 

In the meantime, the commissioners empowered under 
the new Conciliatory Bills to negotiate the restoration of 
peace between Great Britain and her former colonies, ar- 
rived in the Delaware in the "Trident" ship-of-war. These 
were Frederick Howard, Earl of Carlisle; William Eden 
(afterward Lord Aukland), brother of the last colonial gov- 

Cife of U/asl?in<$toi) 163 

ernor of Maryland; and George Johnstone, sometimes called 
commodore, from having served in the navy, but more com- 
monly known as Governor Johnstons, having held that office 
in Florida. He was now a member of Parliament, and in 
the opposition. Their secretary was the celebrated Dr. 
Adam Ferguson, an Edinburgh professor; author of a Ro- 
man History, and who in his younger days (he was now 
about fifty-five years of age) had been a " fighting chaplain 
at Fontenoy." 

The choice of commissioners gave rise to much criticism 
and cavil; especially that of Lord Carlisle, a young man of 
fashion, amiable and intelligent, it is true, but unfitted by 
his soft European habits for such a mission. "To captivate 
the rude members of Congress," said Wilkes, "and civilize 
the wild inhabitants of an unpolished country, a noble peer 
was very properly appointed chief of the honorable embassy. 
His lordship, to the surprise and admiration of that part of 
the New World, carried with him a green ribbon, the gentle 
manners, winning behavior, and soft insinuating address of 
a modern man of quality and a professed courtier. The 
muses and graces with a group of little laughing loves were 
in his train, and for the first time crossed the Atlantic." * 

Mr. Eden, by his letter still in existence, f appears to have 
been unkindly disposed toward America. Johnstone was 
evidently the strongest member of the commission. Fox 
pronounced him "the only one who could have the ear of the 
people in America,' ' he alone had been their friend in Great 
Britain, and was acquainted with the people of Pennsylvania. 

The commissioners landed at Philadelphia on the 6th of 

• L9 Parliamentary Hist., 1338. 

+ I-"' coe'fl Am. Ar , vol. i., p. 963. 

164: U/or^s of U/asfyiD^tor? Irvipo; 

June, and discovered, to their astonishment, that they had 
come out, as it were, in the dark, on a mission in which but 
a half confidence had b^en reposed in them by government. 
Three weeks before their departure from England orders 
had been sent out to Sir Henry Clinton to evacuate Phila- 
delphia and concentrate his forces at New York; yet these 
orders were never imparted to them. Their letters and 
speeches testify their surprise and indignation at finding 
their plan of operations so completely disconcerted by their 
own cabinet. "We found everything here," writes Lord 
Carlisle, "in great confusion; the army upon the point of 
leaving the town, and about three thousand of the miserable 
inhabitants embarked on board of our ships, to convey them 
from a place where they think they would receive no mercy 
from those who will take possession after us." 

So Governor Johnstone, in speeches subsequently made 
in Parliament: "On my arrival, the orders for the evacua- 
tion had been made public— the city was in the utmost con- 
sternation : a more affecting spectacle of woe I never beheld. " 
And again: "The commissioners were received at Philadel- 
phia with all the joy which a generous people could express. 
Why were you so long a-coming? was the general cry. Do 
not abandon us, Retain the army and send them against 
"Washington, and the affair is over. Ten thousand men will 
arm for you in this province, and ten thousand in the lower 
counties, the moment you take the field and can get arms. 
The declarations were general and notorious, and I am per- 
suaded, if we had been at liberty to have acted in the field, 
our most sanguine expectations would have been fulfilled." 

The orders for evacuation, however, were too peremptory 
to be evaded, but Johnstone declared that if he had known 
«)f them he never would have gone on the mission. The 

Cife of U/asr;ip<$tor; 165 

commissioners had prepared a letter for Congress, merely 
informing that body of their arrival and powers, and their 
disposition to promote a reconciliation, intending quietly to 
await an answer; but the unexpected situation of affairs, 
occasioned by the order for evacuation, obliged them to alter 
their resolution, and to write one of a different character, 
bringing forward at once all the powers delegated to them. 

On the 9th of June, Sir Henry Clinton informed Wash- 
ington of the arrival of the commissioners, and requested 
a passport for their secretary, Dr. Ferguson, the historian, 
to proceed to Yorktown bearing a letter to Congress. Wash- 
ington sent to Congress a copy of Sir Henry's letter, but did 
not consider himself at liberty to grant the passport until 
authorized by them. 

Without waiting the result, the commissioners forwarded, 
by the ordinary military post, their letter, accompanied by 
the "Conciliatory Acts'' and other documents. They were 
received by Congress on the 13th. The letter of the com- 
missioners was addressed "to His Excellency, Henry Lau- 
rens, the President and others, the members of Congress.' ' 
The reading of the letter was interrupted ; and it came near 
being indignantly rejected, on account of expressions dis- 
respectful to France ; charging it with being the insidious 
enemy of both England and her colonies, and interposing its 
pretended friendship to the latter "only to prevent recon- 
ciliation and prolong this destructive war." Several days 
elapsed before the Congress recovered sufficient equanimity 
to proceed with the dispatches of the commissioners, and 
deliberate on the propositions they contained. 

In their reply, signed by the president (June 17th), they 
observed, that nothing but an earnest desire to spare further 
effusion of blood could have induced them to read a pa{)er 

166 U/or^s of Waztyr)$tOT) Iruir>$ 

containing expressions so disrespectful to his Most Christian 
Majesty, or to consider propositions so derogatory to the 
honor of an independent nation; and in conclusion they 
expressed a readiness to treat as soon as the King of Great 
Britain should demonstrate a sincere disposition for peace, 
either by an explicit acknowledgment of the independence 
of the States, or by the withdrawal of his fleets and armies. 

We will not follow the commissioners through their vari- 
ous attempts, overtly and covertly, to forward the object of 
their mission. "We cannot, however, pass unnoticed an inti- 
mation conveyed from Governor Johnstone to General Joseph 
Reed, at this time an influential member of Congress, that 
effectual services on his part to restore the union of the two 
countries might be rewarded by ten thousand pounds sterling 
and any office in the colonies in his Majesty's gift. To this 
Reed made his brief and memorable reply: "I am not worth 
purchasing ; but such as I am, the king of Great Britain is 
not rich enough to do it." 

A letter was also written by Johnstone to Robert Morris, 
the celebrated financier, then also a member of Congress, 
containing the following significant paragraph: "I believe 
the men who have conducted the affairs of America incap- 
able of being influenced by improper motives ; but in all such 
transactions there is risk ; and I think that whoever ventures 
should be assured, at the same time, that honor and emolu- 
ment should naturally follow the fortune of those who have 
steered the vessel in the storm and brought her safely into 
port. I think Washington and the president have a right 
to every favor that grateful nations can bestow, if they could 
once more unite our interest, and spare the miseries and 
devastation of war." 

These transactions and letters being communicated to 

Cife of U/asl?ii?$tor) 107 

Congress, were pronounced by them daring and atrocious 
attempts to corrupt their integrity, and they resolved that 
it was incompatible with their honor to hold any correspond- 
ence or intercourse with the commissioner who made it ; espe- 
cially to negotiate with him upon affairs in which the cause 
of liberty was concerned. 

The commissioners, disappointed in their hopes of influ- 
encing Congress, attempted to operate on the feelings of the 
public, at one time by conciliatory appeals, at another by 
threats and denunciations. Their last measure was to publish 
a manifesto recapitulating their official proceedings; stating 
the refusal of Congress to treat with them, and offering to 
treat within forty days with deputies from all or any of the 
colonies or provincial Assemblies ; holding forth, at the same 
time, the usual offers of conditional amnesty. This measure, 
like all which had preceded it, proved ineffectual ; the com- 
missioners embarked for England, and so terminated this 
tardy and blundering attempt of the British Government 
and its agents to effect a reconciliation — the last attempt 
that was made. 

Lord Carlisle, who had taken the least prominent part in 
these transactions, thus writes in the course of them to his 
friend, the witty George Selwyn, and his letter may serve 
as a peroration. "1 inclose you our manifesto, which you 
will never read. 'Tis a sort of dying speech of the commis- 
sion; an effort from which I expect little success. . . . 
Everything is upon a great scale upon this continent. The 
rivers are immense; the climate violent in heat and cold; 
the prospects magnificent; the thunder and lightning tre- 
mendous. The disorders incident to the country make every 
constitution tremble. "We have nothing on a great scale 
with us but our blunders, our misconduct, our ruin, our 

168 U/orl^s of \JJast)U)$tOT) Irvir><$ 

losses, our disgraces and misfortunes, that will mark the 
reign of a prince who deserves better treatment and kinder 


Preparations to evacuate Philadelphia — Washington calls a Coun- 
cil of War — Lee opposed to any Attack — Philadelphia evacu- 
ated — Movements in pursuit of Sir Henry Clinton — Another 
Council of War — Conflict of Opinions — Contradictory Conduct 
of Lee respecting the Command— The Battle of Monmouth 
Court House — Subsequent March of the Armies 

The delay of the British to evacuate Philadelphia tasked 
the sagacity of Washington, but he supposed it to have been 
caused by the arrival of the commissioners from Great Brit- 
ain. The force in the city in the meantime had been much 
reduced. Five thousand men had been detached to aid in 
a sudden descent on the French possessions in the West 
Indies; three thousand more to Florida. Most of the cavalry 
with other troops had been shipped with the provision train 
and heavy baggage to New York. The effective force re- 
maining with Sir Henry was now about nine or ten thousand 
men; that under Washington was a little more than twelve 
thousand Continentals, and about thirteen hundred militia. 
It had already acquired considerable proficiency in tactics 
and field maneuvering under the diligent instructions of 

Early in June, it was evident that a total evacuation of 
the city was on the point of taking place ; and circumstances 
convinced Washington that the march of the main body 
would be through the Jerseys. Some of his officers thought 
differently, especially General Lee, who had now the com- 

Cife of U/asfyip^ton 169 

mand of a division composed of Poor, Varnum, and Hunt- 
ington's brigades. Lee, since his return to the army, had 
resumed somewhat of his old habit of cynical supervision, 
and had his circle of admirers, among whom he indulged in 
caustic comments on military affairs and the merits of com- 

On the present occasion he addressed a letter to Wash- 
ington, dated June 15th, suggesting other plans which the 
enemy might have in view. "Whether they do or do not 
adopt any of these plans," added he, "there can no incon- 
venience arise from considering the subject, nor from devis- 
ing means of defeating their purposes, on the supposition 
that they will." 

Washington, in his reply, gave the suggestions of Lee 
a candid and respectful consideration, but in the course of 
his letter took occasion to hint a little gentle admonition. 

"I shall always be happy," writes he, "in a free com- 
munication of your sentiments upon any important subject 
relative to the service, and only beg that they may come 
directly to myself. The custom which many officers have 
of speaking freely and reprobating measures, which, upon 
investigation, may be found to be unavoidable, is never pro- 
ductive of good, but often of very mischievous consequences.' ' 

In consequence probably of the suggestions of Lee, Wash- 
ington called a general council of war on the 17th, to con- 
sider what measures to adopt; whether to undertake any 
enterprise against tbe enemy in their present circumstances — 
whether the army should remain in its actual position, until 
the final evacuation had taken place, or move immediately 
toward the Delaware — whether, should the enemy march 
through the Jerseys, it would be advisable to attack them 
while on the way, or to push on directly to the Hudson, 

Vol. XIV.— * * * 8 

170 U/orl^s of ll/as^ir^tor) Iruip$ 

and secure that important communication between the East- 
ern and Southern States? In case an attack while on the 
march were determined on, should it be a partial or a gen- 
eral one? 

Lee spoke eloquently on the occasion. He was opposed 
to an attack of any kind. He would make a bridge of gold 
for the enemy. They were nearly equal in number to the 
Americans and far superior in discipline ; in fact, never had 
troops been better disciplined. An attack would endanger 
the safety of the cause. It was now in a prosperous state, 
in consequence of the foreign alliance just formed; all ought 
not to be put at risk at the very moment of making such an 
alliance. He advised merely to follow the enemy, observe 
their motions, and prevent them from committing any ex- 

Lee's opinions had still great weight with the army; 
most of the officers, both foreign and American, concurred 
with him. Greene, Lafayette, Wayne, and Cadwalader 
thought differently. They could not brook that the enemy 
should evacuate the city and make a long march through 
the country unmolested. An opportunity might present 
itself, amid the bustle and confusion of departure, or while 
embarrassed in defiles with a cumbrous baggage train, of 
striking some signal blow, that would indemnify them for 
all they had suffered in their long and dreary encampment 
at Valley Forge. 

Washington's heart was with this latter counsel; but 
seeing such want of unanimity among his generals, he 
requested their opinions in writing. Before these were 
given in, word was brought that the enemy had actually 
evacuated the city. 

Sir Henry had taken his measures with great secrecy and 

Cife of WastyvqtoT) 171 

dispatch. The army commenced moving at three o'clock 
on the morning of the 18th, retiring to a point of land below 
the town formed by the confluence of the Delaware and 
Schuylkill, and crossing the former river in boats. By ten 
o'clock in the morning the rearguard landed on the Jersey 

On the first intelligence of this movement, Washington 
detached General Maxwell, with his brigade, to co-operate 
with General Dickinson and the New Jersey militia in har- 
assing the enem}^ on their march. He sent General Arnold, 
also, with a force to take command of Philadelphia, that 
officer being not yet sufficiently recovered from his wound 
for field service ; then, breaking up his camp at Valley Forge, 
he pushed forward with his main force in pursuit of the 

As the route of the latter lay along the eastern bank of 
the Delaware as high as Trenton, Washington was obliged 
to make a considerable circuit, so as to cross the river higher 
up at Coryell's Ferry, near the place where, eighteen months 
previously, he had crossed to attack the Hessians. 

On the 20th he writes to General Gates: "I am now with 
the main body of the army within ten miles of Coryell's 
Ferry. General Lee is advanced with six brigades and will 
cross to-night or to-morrow morning. By the last intelli- 
gence the enemy are near Mount Holly, and moving very 
slowly ; but as there are so many roads open to them their 
route could not be ascertained. I shall enter the Jerseys 
1 -morrow, and give you the earliest notice of their move- 
ments, and whatever may affect you." 

Heavy rains and sultry summer heat retarded his move- 
ments; but the army crossed on the 24th. " The British wore 
HOW at ICoorestown and Mount Holly. Thence they might 

172 U/orl^s of U/asfyio^too Irving 

take the road on the left for Brunswick, and so on to Staten 
Island and New York; or the road to the right through 
Monmouth, by the Heights of Middletown to Sandy Hook. 
Uncertain which they might adopt, Washington detached 
Colonel Morgan with six hundred picked men to re-enforce 
Maxwell, and hang on their rear ; while he himself pushed 
forward with the main body toward Princeton, cautiously 
keeping along the mountainous country to the left of the 
most northern road. 

The march of Sir Henry was very slow. His army was 
encumbered with baggage and provisions, and all the name- 
less superfluities in which British officers are prone to in- 
dulge. His train of wheel carriages and bat horses was 
twelve miles in extent. He was retarded by heavy rain and 
intolerable heat; bridges had to be built and causeways 
constructed over streams and marshes, where they had been 
destroyed by the Americans. 

From his dilatory movements, Washington suspected Sir 
Henry of a design to draw him down into the level country, 
and then, by a rapid movement on his right, gain possession 
of the strong ground above him and bring him to a general 
action on disadvantageous terms. He himself was inclined 
for a general action whenever it could be made on suitable 
ground; he halted, therefore, at Hopewell, about five miles 
from Princeton, and held another council of war while his 
troops were reposing and refreshing themselves. The result 
of it, writes his aid-de-camp D Colonel Hamilton, "would have 
done honor to the most honorable society of midwives and 
to them only."* The purport was to keep at a distance 
from the enemy, and annoy them by detachments, Lee, 
according to Hamilton, was the prime mover of this plan, 

* MS. Letter of Hamilton to Elias Boudinot. 

Cife of U/asfyir^tor; 173 

in pursuance of which a detachment of fifteen hundred men 
was sent off under Brigadier-general Scott, to join the other 
troops near the enemy's line. Lee was even opposed to 
sending so large a number. 

Generals Greene, "Wayne, and Lafayette were in the 
minority in the council, and subsequently gave separately 
the same opinion in writing, that the rear of the enemy 
should be attacked by a strong detachment, while the main 
army should be so disposed as to give a general battle, should 
circumstances render it advisable. As this opinion coincided 
with his own, Washington determined to act upon it. 

Sir Henry Clinton in the meantime had advanced to 
Allentown, on his way to Brunswick, to embark on the 
Raritan. Finding the passage of that river likely to be 
strongly disputed by the forces under "Washington, and 
others advancing from the north under Gates, he changed 
his plan, and turned to the right by a road leading through 
Freehold to ISTavesink and Sandy Hook; to embark at the 
latter place. 

Washington, no longer in doubt as to the route of the 
enemy's march, detached Wayne with one thousand men 
to join the advanced corps, which, thus augmented, was 
upward of four thousand strong. The command of the 
advance properly belonged to Lee as senior major-general ; 
but it was eagerly solicited by Lafayette, as an attack by 
it was intended, and Lee was strenuously opposed to every- 
thing of the kind. Washington willingly gave his consent, 
provided General Lee was satisfied with the arrangement. 
The latter ceded the command without hesitation, observing 
to the marquis that he was well pleased to be freed from all 
-ponsibility in executing plans which he was sure would 

174 ll/or^s of Was\)iT)$tOT) Irving 

Lafayette set out on the 25th to form a junction as aoon 
as possible with the force under General Scott; while Wash- 
ington, leaving his baggage at Kingston, moved with the 
main body to Cranberry, three miles in the rear of the ad- 
vanced corps, to be ready to support it. 

Scarce, however, had Lee relinquished the command 
when he changed his mind. In a note to Washington he 
declared that, in assenting to the arrangement, he had con • 
sidered the command of the detachment one more fitting 
a young volunteering general than a veteran like himself, 
second in command in the army. He now viewed it in a 
different light. Lafayette would be at the head of all the 
Continental parties already in the line ; six thousand men 
at least; a command next to that of the commander-in-chief. 
Should the detachment march, therefore, he entreated to 
have the command of it. So far he spoke personally, "but," 
added he, "to speak as an officer, I do not think that this 
detachment ought to march at all, until at least the head 
of the enemy's right column has passed Cranberry; then if 
it is necessary to march the whole army, I cannot see any 
impropriety in the marquis's commanding this detachment, 
or a greater, as an advanced guard of the army ; but if this 
detachment, with Maxwell's corps, Scott's, Morgan's, and 
Jackson's, is to be considered as a separate, chosen, active 
corps, and put under the marquis's command until the enemy 
leave the Jerseys, both myself and Lord Stirling will be 

Washington was perplexed how to satisfy Lee's punctil- 
ious claims without wounding the feelings of Lafayette. A 
change in the disposition of the enemy's line of march fur- 
nished an expedient. Sir Henry Clinton, finding himself 
harassed by light troops on the flanks, and in danger of an 

Cife of \JJas\)iT)QtOT) 175 

attack in the rear, placed all his baggage in front under the 
convoy of Knyphausen, while he threw the main strength 
of his army in the rear under Lord Cornwallis. 

This made it necessary for Washington to strengthen 
his advanced corps; and he took this occasion to detach Lee, 
with Scott's and Varnum's brigades, to support the force 
under Lafayette. As Lee was the senior major-general, 
this gave him the command of the whole advance. Wash- 
ington explained the matter in a letter to the marquis, who 
resigned the command to Lee when the latter joined him 
on the 27th. That evening the enemy encamped on high 
ground near Monmouth Court House. Lee encamped with 
the advance at Englishtown, about five miles distant. The 
main body was three miles in his rear. 

About sunset, Washington rode forward to the advance, 
and anxiously reconnoitered Sir Henry's position. It was 
protected by woods and morasses, and too strong to be at- 
tacked with a prospect of success. Should the enemy, how- 
ever, proceed ten or twelve miles further unmolested, they 
would gain the heights of Middletown, and be on ground 
still more difficult. To prevent this, he resolved that an 
attack should be made on their rear early in the morning, 
as soon as their front should be in motion. This plan he 
communicated to General Lee, in presence of his officers, 
ordering him to make dispositions for the attack, keeping 
his troops lying on their arms, ready for action on the shortest 
notice; a disposition he intended to observe with his own 
troops. This done, he rode back to the main body. 

Apprehensive that Sir Henry might decamp in the night, 

W.i-hiu^ton sent orders to Lee before midnight, to detach 

seven hundred men to lie near the enemy, watch and 

give notice of their movements, and hold them in check 

176 U/or^s of U/asf?io<$toi} lr\jir)q 

when on the march until the rest of the troops could come 
up. General Dickinson was charged by Lee with this duty. 
Morgan was likewise stationed with his corps to be ready for 

Early in the morning Washington received an express 
from Dickinson, informing him that the enemy were in 
motion. He instantly sent orders to Lee to push forward 
and attack them, unless there should be powerful reasons 
to the contrary, adding that he was coming on to support 
him. For that purpose he immediately set forward with his 
own troops, ordering them to throw by their knapsacks and 

Knyphausen, with the British vanguard, had begun 
about daybreak to descend into the valley between Mon 
mouth Court House and Middletown. To give the long 
train of wagons and pack-horses time to get well on the 
way, Sir Henry Clinton with his choice troops remained 
in camp on the heights of Freehold, until eight o'clock, 
when he likewise resumed the line of march toward Mid- 

In the meantime Lee, on hearing of the early movement 
of the enemy, had advanced with the brigades of Wayne 
and Maxwell to support the light troops engaged in skir- 
mishing. The difficulty of reconnoitering a country cut up 
by woods and morasses, and the perplexity occasioned by 
contradictory reports, embarrassed his movements. Being 
joined by Lafayette with the main body of the advance, 
he had now about four thousand men at his command, 
independent of those under Morgan and General Dickinson. 

Arriving on the heights of Freehold and riding forward 
with General Wayne to an open place to reconnoiter, Lee 
caught sight of a force under march, but partly hidden from 

Cife of U/asr;in<$t:or) 177 

view by intervening woods. Supposing it to be a mere 
covering party of about two thousand men, he detached 
"Wayne with seven hundred men and two pieces of artillery 
to skirmish in its rear and hold it in check ; while he, with 
the rest of his force, taking a shorter road through the woods, 
would get in front of it and cut it off from the main body. 
He at the same time sent a message to Washington, appris- 
ing him of this movement and of his certainty of success.* 

"Washington in the meantime was on his march with the 
main body, to support the advance, as he had promised. 
The booming of cannon at a distance indicated that the at- 
tack so much desired had commenced, and caused him to 
quicken his march. Arrived near Freehold church, where 
the road forked, he detached Greene with part of his forces 
to the right to flank the enemy in the rear of Monmouth 
Court House, while he, with the rest of the column, would 
press forward by the other road. 

"Washington had alighted while giving these directions, 
and was standing with his arm thrown over his horse, when 
a countryman rode up and said the Continental troops were 
retreating. "Washington was provoked at what he consid- 
ered a false alarm. The man pointed, as his authority, 
to an American fifer who just then came up in breathless 
affright. The fifer was ordered into custody to prevent his 
spreading an alarm among the troops who were advancing, 
and was threatened with a flogging should he repeat the 

Springing on his horse, Washington had moved forward 
but a short distance when he met other fugitives, one in the 
garb of a soldier, who all concurred in the report. He 

* Evidence of Dr. McHenry on the Court-martial. 

178 U/or^s of U/asI?ii}$toi) Iruir?^ 

now sent forward Colonels Fitzgerald and Harrison, to learn 
the truth, while he himself spurred past Freehold meeting 
house. Between that edifice and the morass beyond it, he 
met Grayson's and Patton's regiments in most disorderly 
retreat, jaded with heat and fatigue. Riding up to the 
officer at their head, Washington demanded whether the 
whole advanced corps were retreating. The officer believed 
they were. 

It seemed incredible. There had been scarce any firing 
— Washington had received no notice of the retreat from 
Lee. He was still almost inclined to doubt, when the heads 
of several columns of the advance began to appear. It was 
too evident — the whole advance was falling back on the main 
body, and no notice had been given to him. One of the first 
officers that came up was Colonel Shreve at the head of his 
regiment; Washington, greatly surprised and alarmed, asked 
the meaning of this retreat. The colonel smiled significantly 
— he did not know — he had retreated by order. There had 
been no fighting except a slight skirmish with the enemy's 
cavalry, which had been repulsed. 

A suspicion flashed across Washington's mind of wrong- 
headed conduct on the part of Lee to mar the plan of attack 
adopted contrary to his counsels. Ordering Colonel Shreve 
to march his men over the morass, halt them on the hill 
beyond and refresh them, he galloped forward to stop the 
retreat of the rest of the advance, his indignation kindling 
as he rode. At the rear of the regiment he met Major 
Howard; he, too, could give no reason for the retreat, but 
seemed provoked at it — declaring that he had never seen 
the like. Another officer exclaimed with an oath that they 
were flying from a shadow. 

Arriving at a rising ground, Washington beheld Lee 

Cife of U/asr;ir;<$ton 179 

approaching with the residue of his command in full re- 
treat. By this time he was thoroughly exasperated. 

44 What is the meaning of all this, sir?" demanded he, in 
the sternest and even fiercest tone, as Lee rode up to him. 

Lee for a moment was disconcerted, and hesitated in 
making a reply, for "Washington's aspect, according to La- 
fayette, was terrible. 

"I desire to know the meaning of this disorder and con- 
fusion," was again demanded still more vehemently. 

Lee, stung by the manner more than the words of the 
demand, made an angry reply, and provoked still sharper 
expressions, which have been variously reported. He at- 
tempted a hurried explanation. His troops had been thrown 
into confusion by contradictory intelligence; by disobedience 
of orders; by the meddling and blundering of individuals; 
and he had not felt disposed, he said, to beard the whole 
British army with troops in such a situation. 

"I have certain information," rejoined Washington, 
"that it was merely a strong covering party." 

"That may be, but it was stronger than mine, and I did 
not think proper to run such a risk." 

"I am very sorry," replied Washington, "that you under- 
took the command, unless you meant to fight the enemy." 

"I did not think it prudent to bring on a general engage- 

"Whatever your opinion may have been," replied Wash- 
ington, disdainfully, "I expected my orders would have been 

This all passed rapidly, and, as it were, in flashes, for 
there was no time for parley. The enemy were within a 
quarter of an hour's march. Washington's appearance had 
stopped the retreat. The fortunes of the day were to be 

180 U/or^8 of U/asl?ir)$tOQ Iruii}$ 

retrieved, if possible, by instant arrangements. These he 
proceeded to make with great celerity. The place was favor- 
able for a stand ; it was a rising ground, to which the enemy 
could approach only over a narrow causeway. The rallied 
troops were hastily formed upon this eminence. Colonels 
Stewart and Ramsey, with two batteries, were stationed in 
a covert of woods on their left, to protect them and keep the 
enemy at bay. Colonel Oswald was posted for the same 
purpose on a height, with two field-pieces. The promptness 
with which everything was done showed the effects of the 
Baron Steuben's discipline. 

In the interim, Lee, being asked about the disposition of 
some of the troops, replied that he could give no orders in 
the matter; as he supposed General Washington intended 
he should have no further command. 

Shortly after this, "Washington, having made all his 
arrangements with great dispatch but admirable clearness 
and precision, rode back to Lee in calmer mood, and inquired, 
"Will you retain the command on this height or not? if you 
will, I will return to the main body and have it formed on 
the next height." 

"It is equal to me where I command," replied Lee. 

"I expect you will take proper means for checking the 
enemy," rejoined Washington. 

"Your orders shall be obeyed; and I shall not be the first 
to leave the ground," was the reply. 

A warm cannonade by Oswald, Stewart and Ramsey had 
the desired effect. The enemy were brought to a stand, and 
Washington had time to gallop back and bring on the main 
body. This he formed on an eminence, with a wood in the 
rear and the morass in front. The left wing was commanded 
by Lord Stirling, who had with him a detachment of artil- 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi) 181 

iery and several field-pieces. General Greene was on his 

Lee had maintained his advanced position with great 
spirit, but was at length obliged to retire. He brought off 
his troops in good order across a causeway which traversed 
the morass in front of Lord Stirling. As he had promised, 
he was the last to leave the ground. Having formed his 
men in a line, beyond the morass, he rode up to "Washing- 
ton. "Here, sir, are my troops," said he; "how is it your 
pleasure I should dispose of them?" Washington saw that 
the poor fellows were exhausted by marching, counter- 
marching, hard fighting, and the intolerable heat of the 
weather: he ordered Lee, therefore, to repair with them 
to the rear of Englishtown, and assemble there all the 
scattered fugitives he might meet with. 

The batteries under the direction of Lord Stirling opened 
a brisk and well-sustained fire upon the enemy ; who, find- 
ing themselves warmly opposed in front, attempted to turn 
the left flank of the Americans, but were driven back by 
detached parties of infantry stationed there. They then at- 
tempted the right; but here were met by General Greene, 
who had planted his artillery under Knox, on a command- 
ing ground, and not only checked them but enfiladed those 
who were in front of the left wing. "Wayne, too, with an 
advanced party posted in an orchard, and partly sheltered 
by a barn, kept up a severe and well-directed fire upon the 
enemy's center. Repeated attempts were made to dislodge 
him, but in vain. Colonel Monckton of the royal grena- 
diers, who had distinguished himself and been wounded in 
the battle of Long Island, now undertook to drive Wayne 
from his post at the point of the bayonet. Having made a 
brief harangue to his men, he led them on in column. 

182 U/or^s of U/a8t?ir)$toi? Iruir><^ 

Wayne's men reserved their fire until Colonel Monckton, 
waving his sword, called out to his grenadiers to charge. 
At that instant a sheeted volley laid him low, and made 
great slaughter in his column, which was again repulsed. 

The enemy at length gave way, and fell back to the 
ground which Lee had occupied in the morning. Here their 
flanks were secured by woods and morasses, and their front 
could only be approached across a narrow causeway. 

Notwithstanding the difficulties of the position, "Washing- 
ton prepared to attack it; ordering General Poor with his 
own and the Carolina brigade to move round upon their 
right, and General Woodford on their left; while the artil- 
lery should gall them in front. Before these orders could 
be carried into effect the day was at an end. Many of the 
soldiers had sunk upon the ground, overcome by fatigue and 
the heat of the weather; all needed repose. The troops, 
therefore, which had been in the advance, were ordered 
to lie on their arms on the ground they occupied, so as to 
be ready to make the attack by daybreak. The main army 
did the same, on the field of action, to be at hand to support 
them. Washington lay on his cloak at the foot of a tree, 
with Lafayette beside him, talking over the strange conduct 
of Lee ; whose disorderly retreat had come so near being 
fatal to the army. 

It was indeed a matter of general perplexity, to which 
the wayward character of Lee greatly contributed. Some 
who recollected his previous opposition to all plan of attack 
almost suspected him of willfully aiming to procure a defeat. 
It would appear, however, that he had been really surprised 
and thrown into confusion by a move of Sir Henry Clinton, 
who, seeing the force under Lee descending on his rear from 
Freehold heights, had suddenly turned upon it, aided by 

Cife of U/asbip^top 183 

troops from Knyphausen's division, to oblige it to call to its 
assistance the flanking parties under Morgan and Dickinson, 
which were threatening his baggage train. So that Lee, in- 
stead of a mere covering party which he had expected to cut 
off, had found himself front to front with the whole rear di- 
vision of the British army; and that, too, on unfavorable 
ground, with a deep ravine and a morass in his rear. 

He endeavored to form his troops for action. Oswald's 
artillery began to play, and there was some skirmishing with 
the enemy's light-horse, in which they were repulsed. But 
mistakes occurred; orders were misunderstood; one corps 
after another fell back, until the whole retreated, almost 
without a struggle, before an inferior force. Lee himself 
seemed to partake of the confusion ; taking no pains to check 
the retrograde movement, nor to send notice of it to the 
main body upon which they were falling back. 

What opinions Washington gave on the subject, in the 
course of his conversation with the marquis, the latter does 
not tell us; after it was ended, he wrapped himself in his 
cloak, and slept at the foot of the tree, among his soldiers. 

At daybreak the drums beat the reveille. The troops 
roused themselves from their heavy sleep, and prepared for 
action. To their surprise, the enemy had disappeared : there 
was a deserted camp, in which were found four officers and 
about forty privates, too severely wounded to be conveyed 
away by the retreating army. Sir Henry Clinton, it ap- 
peared, had allowed his wearied troops but short repose on 
the preceding night. At ten o'clock, when the American 
forces were buried in their first sleep, lie had set forward to 
join the division under Knyphausen, which, with the bag- 
gage train, having pushed on during the action, was far on 
the road to Middletown. So silent had been his retreat that 

184 ll/or^s of U/as^ii^tOQ Irving 

it was unheard by General Poor's advance party, which lay 
near by. 

The distance to which the enemy must by this time have 
attained, the extreme heat of the weather, and the fatigued 
condition of the troops, deterred Washington from continu- 
ing a pursuit through a country where the roads were deep 
and sandy and there was great scarcity of water. Besides, 
persons well acquainted with the country assured him that 
it would be impossible to annoy the enemy in their embarka- 
tion, as he must approach the place by a narrow passage, 
capable of being defended by a few men against his whole 
force. Detaching General Maxwell's brigade and Morgan's 
rifle corps, therefore, to hang on the rear of the enemy, pre- 
vent depredation and encourage desertions, he determined to 
shape his course with his main body by Brunswick toward 
the Hudson, lest Sir Henry should have any design upon the 
posts there. 

The American loss in the recent battle was eight officers 
and sixty-one privates killed, and about one hundred and 
sixty wounded. Among the slain were Lieutenant-colonel 
Bonner of Pennsylvania, and Major Dickinson of Virginia, 
both greatly regretted. 

The officers who had charge of the burying parties re- 
ported that they found two hundred and forty-five non-com- 
missioned officers and privates, and four officers, left dead 
by the enemy on the field of battle. There were fresh 
graves in the vicinity, also, into which the enemy had hur- 
ried their slain before retreating. The number of prison- 
ers, including those found wounded, was upward of one 

Some of the troops on both sides had perished in the 
morass, some were found on the border of a stream which 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor? 185 

ran through it among alder bushes, whither, overcome by- 
heat, fatigue, and thirst, they had crawled to drink and die. 

Among the gallant slain of the enemy was Colonel 
Monckton, who fell so bravely when leading on his grena- 
diers. His remains were interred in the burial-ground of 
the Freehold meeting-house, upon a stone of which edifice 
his name is rudely cut.* 

After giving his troops a day's repose "Washington de- 
camped on the 30th. His march lay through a country des- 
titute of water, with deep, sandy roads wearying to the feet 
and reflecting the intolerable heat and glare of a July sun. 
Many of the troops, harassed by previous fatigue, gave out 
by the way. Some few died, and a number of horses were 
likewise lost. Washington, ever considerate of the health 
and comfort of his men, encamped near Brunswick, on open, 
airy grounds, and gave them time to repose ; while Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Aaron Burr, at that time a young and enterpris 
ing officer, was sent on a reconnoitering expedition, to learn 
the movements and intentions of the enemy. He was au- 
thorized to dispatch trusty persons into "Hew York to make 
observations, collect reports, and get newspapers. Others 
were to be sent to the heights of Bergen, "Weehawk, and 
Hoboken, which command a view of the bay and river, 
to observe the situation of the enemy's forces, and note 
whether any movement among the shipping gave signs 
of an expedition up the Hudson ; the immediate object of 

Sir Henry Clinton, with the royal army, had arrived at 
the Highlands of Navesink, in the neighborhood of Sandy 
Hook, on the 30th of June. He had lost many men by de- 

* Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, ii. 363. 

186 UVorl^s of U/as^iQ^tor) Iruir;^ 

sertion, Hessians especially, during his march through the 
Jerseys, which, with his losses by killed, wounded, and capt- 
ured, had diminished his army more than two thousand men. 
The storms of the preceding winter had cut off the peninsula 
of Sandy Hook from the mainland, and formed a deep chan- 
nel between them. Fortunately the squadron of Lord Howe 
had arrived the day before, and was at anchor within the 
Hook. A bridge was immediately made across the channel 
with the boats of the ships, over which the army passed to 
the Hook on the 5th of July, and thence was distributed. 

It was now encamped in three divisions on Staten Island, 
Long Island, and the Island of New York : apparently with- 
out any immediate design of offensive operations. There 
was a vigorous press in New York to man the large ships 
and fit them for sea, but this was in consequence of a report 
that a French fleet had arrived on the coast. 

Relieved by this intelligence from all apprehensions of 
an expedition by the enemy up the Hudson, Washington 
relaxed the speed of his movements, and halted for a few 
days at Paramus, sparing his troops as much as possible 
during the extreme summer heats. 


Correspondence between Lee and Washington relative to the Affair 
of Monmouth — Lee asks a Trial by Court-martial — The Verdict 
— Lee's Subsequent History 

Having brought the army to a halt, we have time to 
notice a correspondence between General Lee and Washing- 
ton immediately subsequent to the affair of Monmouth. The 
pride of the general had been deeply wounded by the rebuke 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tor> 187 

he had received on the field of battle. On the following day 
(June 29th) ' he addressed a note to Washington on the 
subject. By mistake it was dated July 1st. "From the 
knowledge I have of your Excellency's character," writes 
he, "I must conclude that nothing but the misinformation 
of some very stupid, or misrepresentation of some very 
wicked person, could have occasioned your making use of 
so very singular expressions as you did on my coming up to 
the ground where you had taken post. They implied that I 
was guilty either of disobedience of orders, want of conduct, 
or want of courage. Your Excellency will therefore infi- 
nitely oblige me by letting me know on which of these three 
articles you ground your charge. I ever had, and hope shall 
ever have, the greatest respect and veneration for General 
"Washington. I think him endowed with many great and 
good qualities; but, in this instance, 1 must pronounce that 
he has been guilty of an act of cruel injustice toward a man 
who certainly has some pretensions to the regard of every 
servant of this country. And I think, sir, I have a right to 
demand some reparation for the injury committed ; and, un- 
less I can obtain it, 1 must in justice to myself, when this 
campaign is closed, which I believe will close the war, retire 
from the service at the head of which is placed a man capa- 
ble of offering such injuries. But at the same time, in jus- 
tice to you, I must repeat that I from my soul believe that it 
is not a motion of your own breast, but instigated by some 
of those dirty earwigs who will forever insinuate themselves 
near persons high in office; for 1 really am convinced that 
when Gtenera] AVashin^ton acts from himself, no man in 
his army will have reason to complain of injustice or in- 

The following was AVMshin^ton's reply: 

188 U/orl^s of U/astyio^ton Irvir>$ 

"Sift — I received your letter (dated through mistake the 
1st of July), expressed as I conceive in terms highly im- 
proper. I am not conscious of making use of any very sin- 
gular expressions at the time of meeting you, as you inti- 
mate. "What I recollect to have said was dictated by duty 
and warranted by the occasion. As soon as circumstances 
will permit you shall have an opportunity of justifying your- 
self to the army 5 to Congress, to America, and to the world 
in general; or of convincing them that you were guilty of a 
breach of orders, and of misbehavior before the enemy on 
the 28th instant, in not attacking them as you had been 
directed, and in making an unnecessary, disorderly, and 
shameful retreat. I am," etc., etc. 

To this Lee rejoined, in a note, misdated 28th June. 
"Sir, you cannot afford me greater pleasure than in giving 
me the opportunity of showing to America the sufficiency of 
her respective servants. I trust that temporary power of 
office, and the tinsel dignity attending it, will not be able, 
by all the mists they can raise, to obfuscate the bright rays 
of truth. In the meantime, your Excellency can have no 
objection to my retiring from the army," etc. 

Shortly after dispatching this note, Lee addressed an- 
other to Washington. "I have reflected on both your situa- 
tion and mine, ,, writes he, "and beg leave to observe that it 
will be for our mutual convenience that a court of inquiry 
should be immediately ordered. But I could wish that it 
might be a court-martial; for, if the affair is drawn into 
length, it may be difficult to collect the necessary evidences, 
and perhaps might bring on a paper war betwixt the adher- 
ents to both parties, which may occasion some disagreeable 
feuds on the continent ; for all are not my friends, nor all 

Cffe of U/asr;in<$ton 189 

your admirers. I must entreat, therefore, from your love of 
justice, that you will immediately exhibit your charge, and 
that on the first halt I may be brought to a trial." 

Washington in reply acknowledged the receipt of the two 
last notes, and added, "I have sent Colonel Scammel and 
the adjutant-general to put you under arrest, who will de- 
liver you a copy of the charges on which you will be tried." 

The following were the charges : 

1st. Disobedience of orders, in not attacking the enemy 
on the 28th of June, agreeably to repeated instructions. 

2d. Misbehavior before the enemy on the same day, by 
making an unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat. 

3d. Disrespect to the commander-in-chief in two letters, 
dated the 1st of July, and the 28th of June. 

A court-martial was accordingly formed on the 4th of 
July, at Brunswick, the first halting place. It was com- 
posed of one major-general, four brigadiers, and eight 
colonels, with Lord Stirling as president. It moved with 
the army, and convened subsequently at Paramus, Peeks- 
kill, and Northcastle, the trial lasting until the 12th of 
August. From the time it commenced, "Washington never 
mentioned Lee's name when he could avoid it, and when 
he could not he mentioned it without the smallest degree 
of acrimony or disrespect. 

Lee, on the contrary, indulged his natural irritability of 
temper and sharpness of tongue. When put on his guard 
against any intemperate railings against Washington, ai 
calculated to injure his cause, he spurned at the advice 
"No attack, it seems, can be made on General Washington 
but it must recoil on the assailant. I never entertained the 
moei distant wish or intention of attacking General Wash- 
ington. I have ever honored and respected him as a man 

190 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi) Iruir^ 

and a citizen ; but if the circle which surrounds him chooses 
to erect him into an infallible divinity, I shall certainly prove 
a heretic; and if, great as he is, he can attempt wounding 
everything I ought to hold dear, he must thank his priests 
if his deityship gets scratched in the scuffle." * 

In the repeated sessions of the court-martial and the long 
examinations which took place, many of the unfavorable im- 
pressions first received, concerning the conduct and motives 
of Lee, were softened. Some of the officers in his detach- 
ment, who had made accusations against him to the com- 
mander-in-chief previous to the trial, especially Generals 
Wayne and Scott, were found not to have understood all 
the circumstances of the case in which he was placed in his 
encounter with the rear division of Sir Henry Clinton, and 
that that division had been largely re-enforced by troops 
from General Knyphausen. 

Lee defended himself with ability. He contended that 
after the troops had commenced to fall back, in consequence 
of a retrograde movement of General Scott, he had intended 
to form them on the first advantageous ground he could find, 
and that none such presented itself until he reached the place 
where he met General Washington ; on which very place he 
had intended to make battle. 

He denied that in the whole course of the day he had ut- 
tered the word retreat. But this retreat, said he, though 
necessary, was brought about contrary to my orders, con- 
trary to my intention; and, if anything can deduct from 
my credit, it is, that I did not order a retreat which was 
so necessary, f 

Judge Marshall observes of the variety of reasons given 

* Letter to Joseph Reed. Sparks' Biog. of Lee, p. 174. 
f Letter to Dr. Rush. Sparks' Biog. of Lee. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 191 

by Lee in justification of his retreat, "if they do not abso- 
lutely establish its propriety, they give it so questionable a 
form as to render it probable that a public examination never 
would have taken place could his proud spirit have stooped 
to offer explanation instead of outrage to the commander-in- 

The result of the prolonged and tedious investigation was 
that he was found guilty of all the charges exhibited against 
him ; the second charge, however, was softened by omitting 
the word shameful, and convicting him of making an "un- 
necessary, and in some instances a disorderly retreat.'' He 
was sentenced to be suspended from all command for one 
year : the sentence to be approved or set aside by Congress. 

We must again anticipate dates to dispose briefly of the 
career of General Lee, who is not connected with the subse- 
quent events of the Revolution. Congress were more than 
three months in coming to a decision on the proceedings of 
the court-martial. As the House always sat with closed 
doors, the debates on the subject are unknown, but are said 
to have been warm. Lee urged for speedy action, and re- 
gretted that the people at large could not be admitted to 
form an audience, when the discussion was entered into of 
the justice or iniquity, wisdom or absurdity, of the sentence 
that had been passed upon him. At length, on the 5th of 
December, the sentence was approved in a very thin session 
of Congress, fifteen members voting in the affirmative and 
seven in the negative. 

From that time Lee was unmeasured in his abuse of 
Washington, and his reprobation of the court-martial, which 
he termed a " court of inquisition." He published a long 
article in the newspapers relative to the trial and to the 
affair at Monmouth, calculated to injure Washington. "I 

192 U/orl^s of Was\)iT)$tOT) Irvii)$ 

have neither the leisure nor inclination," observes the latter, 
"to enter the lists with him in a newspaper; and so far as 
his production points to personality, I can and do from my 
inmost soul despise it. . . . It became a part of General 
Lee's plan, from the moment of his arrest, though it was an 
event solicited by himself, to have the world believe that he 
was a persecuted man, and party was at the bottom of it. 
But however convenient it may have been for his purposes to 
establish this belief, I defy him, or his most zealous parti- 
sans, to adduce a single instance in proof of it, unless bring- 
ing him to trial, at his own request, be considered in this 
light. I can do more ; I will defy any person, out of my 
own family, to say that I have ever mentioned his name, if 
it was to be avoided ; and when not, that I have not studi- 
ously declined expressing any sentiment of him or his be- 
havior. How far this conduct accords with his, let his own 
breast decide. ... As I never entertained any jealousy of 
him, so neither did I ever do more than common civility and 
proper respect to his rank required to conciliate his good 
opinion. His temper and plans were too versatile and vio- 
lent to attract my admiration ; and that I have escaped the 
venom of his tongue and pen so long is more to be wondered 
at than applauded ; as it is a favor of which no officer, under 
whose immediate command he ever served, has had the hap- 
piness, if happiness can be thus denominated, of boastiug. ' ' * 
Lee's aggressive tongue at length involved him in a quar- 
rel with Colonel Laurens, one of Washington's aides, a high- 
spirited young gentleman, who felt himself bound to vindi- 
cate the honor of his chief. A duel took place, and Lee was 
wounded in the side. 

* Washington to Reed. Sparks, vol. vi., p. 138. 

Cife of Wastyr)$tOT) 193 

Toward spring he retired to his estate in Berkley County 
in Virginia, "to learn to hoe tobacco, which," observes he 
with a sarcastic innuendo at Washington, "is the best school 
to form a consummate General. This is a discovery I have 
lately made." 

He led a kind of hermit life on his estate; dogs and 
horses were his favorite companions. His house is described 
as a mere shell, destitute of comforts and conveniences. For 
want of partitions the different parts were designated by 
lines chalked on the floor. In one corner was his bed ; in 
another were his books ; his saddles and harness in a third ; 
a fourth served as a kitchen. 

"Sir," said he to a visitor, "it is the most convenient and 
economical establishment in the world. The lines of chalk 
which you see on the floor mark the divisions of the apart- 
ments, and I can sit in any corner and overlook the whole 
without moving from my chair." 

In this retirement he solaced his mortification and resent- 
ment by exercising his caustic pen in "Queries Political and 
Military," intended to disparage the merits and conduct of 
Washington, and which were published in a Maryland news- 
paper. His attempts, it is needless to say, were fallacious, 
and only recoiled on his own head. 

The term of his suspension had expired, when a rumor 
reached him that Congress intended to take away his com- 
mission. He was in bodily pain at the time ; his horses were 
at the door for an excursion of business; the intelligence 
"ruffled his temper beyond all bounds." In his hurry and 
heat, without attempting to ascertain the truth of the report, 
he scrawled the following note to the President of Congress: 
"Sir, I understand that it is in contemplation of Congress, 

on the principle of economy, to strike me out of their ser- 

Vol. XIV.— ***9 

194 U/orl^s of \JJa&tyr)Qtor) Iruipo" 

vice. Congress must know very little of me if they suppose 
that I would accept of their money, since the confirmation of 
the wicked and infamous sentence which was passed upon 
me. I am, sir," etc. 

This insolent note occasioned his prompt dismissal from 
the service. He did not complain of it ; but in a subsequent 
and respectful letter to the president explained the mistaken 
information which had produced his note, and the state of 
body and mind in which it was written. "But, sir," added 
he, "I must entreat, in the acknowledging of the impropriety 
and indecorum of my conduct in this affair, it may not be 
supposed that I mean to court a restoration to the rank I 
held; so far from it, that I do assure you, had not the inci- 
dent fallen out, I should have requested Congress to accept 
my resignation, as, for obvious reasons, while the army is 
continued in its present circumstances, I could not serve with 
safety and dignity," etc. 

Though bitter in his enmities, Lee had his friendships, 
and was warm and constant in them as far as his capricious 
humors would allow. There was nothing crafty or mean in 
his character, nor do we think he ever engaged in the low 
intrigues of the cabal; but he was a disappointed and imbit- 
tered man, and the gall of bitterness overflowed his generous 
qualities. In such a discordant state of feeling, he was not 
a man for the sweet solitude of the country. He became 
weary of his Virginia estate, though in one of the most fer- 
tile regions of the Shenandoah Valley. His farm was mis- 
managed ; his agents were unfaithful ; he entered into nego* 
tiations to dispose of his property, in the course of which he 
visited Philadelphia. On arriving there, he was taken with 
chills, followed by a fever, which went on increasing in vio- 
lence, and terminated fatally. A soldier even unto the end, 

Cife of U/asr;i]?<$tor> 195 

warlike scenes mingled with the delirium of his malady. In 
his dying moments he fancied himself on the field of battle. 
The last words he was heard to utter were, " Stand by me, 
my brave grenadiers!" 

He left a will and testament strongly marked by his pe- 
culiarities. There are bequests to intimates of horses, weap- 
ons, and sums to purchase rings of affection ; amplo and gen- 
erous provisions for domestics, one of whom he styles his 
"old and faithful servant, or rather, humble friend." His 
landed estate in Berkley was to be divided into three equal 
parts, two of them between two of his former aides-de-camp, 
and the other third between two gentlemen to whom he felt 
under obligations. All his residuary property to go to his 
sister Sidney Lee and her heirs. 

Eccentric to the last, one clause of his will regards his 
sepulture. "I desire most earnestly that I may not be buried 
in any church or churchyard, or within a mile of any Pres- 
byterian or Anabaptist meeting-house; for, since I have re- 
sided in this country, I have kept so much bad company 
while living that I do not choose to continue it when dead." 

This part of his will was not complied with. He was 
buried with military honors in the cemetery of Christ 
Church; and his funeral was attended by the highest 
civic and military characters, and a large concourse of 

The magnanimity exhibited by "Washington in regard to 
Lee while living, continued after his death. He never spoke 
of him with asperity, but did justice to his merits, acknowl- 
edging that "he possessed many great qualities." 

In after years, there was a proposition to publish the 
manuscripts of General Lee, and Washington was consulted 
in the matter, as there might be hostile articles among them 

296 U/orl^s of U/as^ir^toi) Irvir>$ 

which he might wish to have omitted. "I can have no re- 
quest to make concerning the work, ' ' writes he in reply. ' ' I 
never had a difference with that gentleman but on public 
grounds ; and my conduct toward him on this occasion was 
such, only, as I felt myself indispensably bound to adopt in 
discharge of the public trust reposed in me. If this pro- 
duced in him unfavorable sentiments of me, I can never 
consider the conduct I pursued, with respect to him, either 
wrong or improper, however I may regret that it may have 
been differently viewed by him, and that it excited his anger 
and animadversions. Should there appear in General Lee's 
writings anything injurious or unfriendly to me, the impar- 
tial and dispassionate world must decide how far I deserved 
it from the general tenor of my conduct." 


Arrival of a French Fleet — Correspondence of Washington and the 
Count D'Estaing — Plans of the Count — Perturbation at New 
York — Excitement in the French Fleet — Expedition against 
Rhode Island — Operations by Sea and Land — Failure of the 
Expedition — Irritation between the Allied Forces — Considerate 
Letter of "Washington to the Count D'Estaing 

While encamped at Paramus, Washington, in the night 
of the 13th of July, received a letter from Congress inform- 
ing him of the arrival of a French fleet on the coast; in- 
structing him to concert measures with the commander, the 
Count D'Estaing, for offensive operations by sea and land, 
and empowering him to call on the States from New Hamp- 
shire to New Jersey inclusive to aid with their militia. 

The fleet in question was composed of twelve ships of the 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$top 197 

line and six frigates, with a land force of four thousand men. 
On board of it came Monsieur Gerard, minister from France 
to the United States, and the Hon. Silas Deane, one of the 
American ministers who had effected the late treaty of alli- 
ance. The fleet had sailed from Toulon on the 13th of April. 
After struggling against adverse winds for eighty-seven or 
eighty-eight days, it had made its appearance off the northern 
extremity of the Virginia coast and anchored at the mouth 
of the Delaware, on the eighth of July. Thence the count 
dispatched a letter to Washington, dated at sea. "I have 
the honor of imparting to your Excellency," writes he, "the 
arrival of the king's fleet, charged by his majesty with the 
glorious task of giving his allies, the United States of Amer- 
ica, the most striking proofs of his affection. Nothing will 
be wanting to my happiness if I can succeed in it. It is 
augmented by the consideration of concerting my operations 
with a general such as your Excellency. The talents and 
great actions of General Washington have insured him, in 
the eyes of all Europe, the title truly sublime of Deliverer 
of America," etc. 

The count was unfortunate in the length of his voyage. 
Had he arrived in ordinary time he might have entrapped 
Lord Howe's squadron in the river; co-operated with Wash- 
ington in investing the British army by sea and land, and, 
by cutting off its retreat to New York, compelled it to sur- 

Finding the enemy had evacuated both city and river, the 
lint sent up the French minister and Mr. Demie to Phila- 
delphia in a frigate, and then, putting to sea, continued along 
the coast. A little earlier, and he might have intercepted 
squadron of Lord Howe on its way to New York. It 
had had but a Tery lew days the advantage of him, and 

198 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi) Iruii7<$ 

when he arrived with his fleet in the road outside of Sandy 
Hook, he descried the British ships quietly anchored inside 
of it. 

A frank and cordial correspondence took place forthwith 
between the count and "Washington, and a plan of action 
was concerted between them by the intervention of confi- 
dential officers; Washington's aides-de-camp, Laurens and 
Hamilton, boarding the fleet while off the Hook, and Major 
Chouin, a French officer of merit, repairing to the American 

The first idea of the count was to enter at Sandy Hook 
and capture or destroy the British fleet, composed of six 
ships of the line, four fifty-gun ships, and a number of frig- 
ates and smaller vessels; should he succeed in this, which 
his greatly superior force rendered probable, he was to pro- 
ceed against the city, with the co-operation of the American 
forces. To be at hand for such purpose, "Washington crossed 
the Hudson, with his army, at King's Ferry, and encamped 
at "White Plains about the 20th of July. 

In the meantime New York was once more in a violent 
•perturbation. " British seamen," says a writer of the times, 
" endured the mortification, for the first time, of seeing a 
British fleet blocked up and insulted in their own harbor, 
and the French flag flying triumphantly without. And this 
was still more imbittered and aggravated by beholding every 
day vessels under English colors captured under their very 
eyes by the enemy." * The army responded to their feel- 
ings; many royalists of the city, too, hastened to offer their 
services as volunteers ; there was, in short, a prodigious stir 
in every department, military and naval. 

* Brit. Ann. Register for 1778, p. 229. 

Cife of U/ast?ir)$tor> 199 

On the other hand, the French officers and crews were 
in the highest state of excitement and exultation. The long 
low point of Sandy Hook was all that intervened between 
them and a splendid triumph, and they anticipated the glory 
of " delivering America from the English colors which they 
saw waving on the other side of a simple barrier of sand, 
upon so great a crowd of masts." * 

Several experienced American pilots and masters of ves- 
sels, however, who had accompanied Colonels Laurens and 
Hamilton on board of the fleet, declared that there was not 
sufficient depth of water on the bar to admit the safe passage 
of the largest ships, one of which carried 80 and another 90 
guns: the attempt, therefore, was reluctantly abandoned; 
and the ships anchored about four miles off, near Shrews- 
bury on the Jersey coast, taking in provisions and water. 

The enterprise which the American and French com- 
manders deemed next worthy of a combined operation was 
the recapture of Rhode Island proper, that is to say, the 
island which gives its name to the State, and which the 
enemy had made one of their military depots and strong- 
holds. In anticipation of such an enterprise, "Washington 
on the 17th of July wrote to General Sullivan, who com- 
manded at Providence, ordering him to make the necessary 
preparations for a descent from the mainland upon the island, 
and authorizing him to call in re-enforcements of New Eng- 
land militia. He subsequently sent to his aid the Marquis 
Lafayette with two brigades (Varnum's and Glover's). 
Quartermaster-general Greene also was detached for the 

vice, being a native of the island, well acquainted with 
its localities, and having great influence among its inhabi- 

;,: Letter of the Count. 

/JOO U/or^s of \JJaztyr)QtOT) IruiQ$ 

tants. Sullivan was instructed to form his whole force, 
Continental, State, and militia, into two equal divisions, one 
to be commanded by Greene, the other by Lafayette. 

On the 22d of July, the French fleet, having finished 
taking in its supplies, appeared again in full force off the 
bar at Sandy Hook. The British, who supposed they had 
only been waiting on the Shrewsbury coast for the high 
tides of the latter part of July, now prepared for a desperate 
conflict; and, indeed, had the French fleet been enabled to 
enter, it is difficult to conceive a more terrible and destructive 
struggle than would have ensued between these gallant and 
deadly rivals with their powerful armaments brought side 
to side, and cramped up in so confined a field of action. 

D'Estaing, however, had already determined his course. 
After a few demonstrations off the harbor, he stood away 
to the eastward, and on the 29 th arrived off Point Judith, 
coming to anchor within five miles of Newport. 

Rhode Island (proper), the object of this expedition, is 
about sixteen miles long, running deep into the great Nar- 
raganset Bay. Seaconnet Channel separates it on the east 
from the mainland, and on the west the main channel passes 
between it and Conanicut Island. The town of Newport is 
situated near the south end of the island, facing the west, 
with Conanicut Island in front of it. It was protected by 
batteries and a small naval force. Here General Sir Robert 
Pigott, who commanded in the island, had his headquarters. 
The force under him was about six thousand strong, vari- 
ously posted about the island, some in works at the north 
end, but the greater part within strongly intrenched lines 
extending across the island, about three miles from the 
town. General Greene hastened from Providence on hearing 
of the arrival of the fleet of Count D'Estaing, and went on 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$tor> 201 

board of it at the anchorage to concert a plan of operations. 
Some questions of etiquette and precedence rose between 
them in settling the mode in which the attack was to be 
conducted. It was at length agreed that the fleet should 
force its way into the harbor at the same time that the 
Americans approached by land, and that the landing of the 
troops from the ships on the west side of the island should 
take place at the same time that the Americans should cross 
Seaconnet Channel and land on the east side near the north 
end. This combined operation was to have been carried 
promptly into effect, but was postponed until the 10th of 
August, to give time for the re-enforcements sent by Wash- 
ington to arrive. The delay was fatal to the enterprise. 

On the 8th, the Count D'Estaing entered the harbor and 
passed up the main channel, exchanging a cannonade with 
the batteries as he passed, and anchored a little above the 
town, between Goat and Conanicut Islands. The English, 
on his approach, burned or scuttled three frigates and some 
smaller vessels, which would otherwise have been captured. 
General Sullivan, to be ready for the concerted attack, had 
moved down from Providence to the neighborhood of How- 
land's Ferry, on the east side of Seaconnet passage. 

The British troops stationed opposite on the north end of 
the island, fearful of being cut off, evacuated their works 
in the night of the 8th, and drew into the lines at Newport. 

Sullivan, seeing the works thus abandoned, could not 
resist the temptation to cross the channel in flat-bottomed 
boats on the morning of the Oth, and take possession of 

This sudden movement, a day in advance of the concerted 
time, and without due notice given to the count, surprised 
and offended him, clashing with his notions of etiquette and 

202 U/orl{8 of U/a8tyir?<$tOQ Iruio$ 

punctilio. He, however, prepared to co-operate, and was 
ordering out his boats for the purpose, when, about two 
o'clock in the day, his attention was called to a great fleet 
of ships standing toward Newport. It was, in fact, the 
fleet of Lord Howe. That gallant nobleman had heard of 
the danger of Newport, and being re-enforced by four stout 
ships, part of a squadron coming out under Admiral Byron, 
had hastened to its relief; though still inferior in force to 
the French admiral. The delay of the concerted attack had 
enabled him to arrive in time. The wind set directly into 
the harbor. Had he entered promptly, the French would 
have been placed between two fires, from his ships and the 
batteries, and cramped up in a confined channel, where their 
largest ships had no room to operate. His lordship, how- 
ever, merely stood in near the land, communicated with 
General Pigott, and having informed himself exactly of the 
situation of the French fleet, came to anchor at Point Judith, 
some distance from the southwest entrance of the bay. 

In the night the wind changed to the northeast. The 
count hastened to avail himself of the error of the British 
admiral. Favored by the wind, he stood out of the harbor 
at eight o'clock in the morning to give the enemy battle 
where he should have good sea-room; previously sending 
word to General Sullivan, who had advanced the preceding 
afternoon to Quaker Hill, about ten miles north of Newport, 
that he would land his promised troops and marines and 
co-operate with him on his return. 

The French ships were severely cannonaded as they 
passed the batteries, but without material damage. Form- 
ing in order of battle, they bore down upon the fleet of Lord 
Howe, confidently anticipating a victory from their superi- 
ority of force. The British ships slipped their cables at their 

Cife of U/asl?ii?$toi) 203 

approach, and likewise formed in line of battle, but his lord- 
ship avoided an encounter while the enemy had the weather- 
gage. To gain this on the one part, and retain it on the 
other, the two fleets maneuvered throughout the day, stand- 
ing to the southward, and gradually disappearing from the 
anxious eyes of the belligerent forces on Rhode Island. 

The army of Sullivan, now left to itself before Newport, 
amounted to ten thousand men, having received the militia 
re-enforcements. Lafayette advised the delay of hostile 
operations until the return of D'Estaing, but the American 
commander, piqued and chagrined at the departure of his 
allies, determined to commence the siege immediately, with- 
out waiting for his tardy aid. On the twelfth, however, 
came on a tempest of wind and rain, which raged for two 
days and nights with unexampled violence. Tents were 
blown down ; several soldiers and many horses perished, and 
a great part of the ammunition recently dealt out to the 
troops was destroyed. On the 14th, the weather cleared up 
and the sun shone brightly, but the army was worn down 
and dispirited. Had the British troops sallied forth at this 
juncture, hale and fresh from comfortable quarters, it might 
have fared badly with their weatherbeaten besiegers. The 
latter, however, being unmolested, had time to breathe and 
refit themselves. The day was passed in drying their clothes, 
cleaning their arms, and putting themselves in order for 
action. By the next morning they were again on the alert. 
Expecting the prompt return of the French, they now took 
post on Honey man's Hill, about two miles from the British 
lines, and began to construct batteries, form lines of com- 
munication, and make regular approaches. The British 
were equally active in strengthening their defenses. There 
was casual cannonading on each side, but nothing of conse- 

*204 U/orl^s of U/asbir/^eon Irvin<$ 

quence. Several days elapsed without the reappearance Of 
the French. The situation of the besiegers was growing 
critical, when, on the evening of the 19th, they descried the 
expected fleet standing toward the harbor. All now was 
exultation in the camp. Should the French with their ships 
and troops attack the town by sea and land on the one side, 
while the Americans assailed it on the other, the surrender 
of the place was inevitable. 

These sanguine anticipations, however, were shortlived. 
The French fleet was in a shattered and forlorn condition. 
After sailing from before Newport, on the 10th, it had ma- 
neuvered for two days with the British fleet, each unwilling 
to enter into action without having the weathergage. While 
thus maneuvering, the same furious storm which had raged 
on shore separated and dispersed them with fearful ravage. 
Some single encounters of scattered ships subsequently took 
place, but without definite result. All were too much tem- 
pest-tossed and disabled to make good fight. Lord Howe 
with such of his ships as he could collect bore away to 
New York to refit, and the French admiral was now be- 
fore Newport, but in no plight or mood for fighting. 

In a letter to General Sullivan, he informed him that, 
pursuant to fhe orders of his sovereign and the advice of his 
officers, he was bound for Boston, being instructed to repair 
to that port, should he meet with misfortune or a superior 
British force appear upon the coast. 

Dismayed at this intelligence, which threatened ruin and 
disgrace to the enterprise, Sullivan wrote a letter of remon- 
strance to the count, and General Greene and the Marquis 
Lafayette repaired with it on board of the admiral's ship, to 
enforce it by their personal exertions. They represented 
to the count the certainty of carrying the place in two days, 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 205 

by a combined attack ; and the discouragement and reproach 
that would follow a failure on this their first attempt at co- 
operation; an attempt, too, for which the Americans had 
made such great and expensive preparations, and on which 
they had indulged such sanguine hopes. These and other 
considerations equally urgent had their weight with the 
count, and he was inclined to remain and pursue the enter- 
prise, but was overruled by the principal officers of his fleet. 
The fact is, that he was properly a land officer, and they had 
been indignant at his having a nautical command over their 
heads. They were glad, therefore, of any opportunity to 
thwart and mortify him ; and now insisted on his complying 
with his letter of instructions, and sailing for Boston. On 
Lafayette's taking leave, the count assured him that he 
would only remain in Boston time enough to give his men 
repose after their long sufferings, and refit his ships; and 
trusted to leave the port again within three weeks after 
entering it, "to fight for the glory of the French name and 
the interests of America." * 

The marquis and General Greene returned at midnight, 
and made a report of the ill success of their mission. Sulli- 
van sent another letter on the following day, urging D'Es- 
taing in any event to leave his land forces. All the general 
officers, excepting Lafayette, joined in signing and sending 
a protest against the departure of the fleet for Boston, as 
derogatory to the honor of France, contrary to the intention 
of his most Christian majesty and the interest of his nation, 
destructive of the welfare of the United States, and highly 
injurious to the alliance formed between the two nations. 

* Letter of Lafayette to Washington. Memoirs, t. i., 

206 U/or^s of U/ast?in$ton Iruir><$ 

The fleet was already under way when Colonel Laurens got 
on board of the admiral's ship with the letter and protest. 
The count was deeply offended by the tone of the protest and 
the manner in which it was conveyed to him. He declared 
to Colonel Laurens that "this paper imposed on the com- 
mander of the king's squadron the painful, but necessary 
law of profound silence." He continued his course to 

At the sailing of the ships there was a feeling of exaspera- 
tion throughout the camp. Sullivan gave vent to his vexa- 
tion in a general order on the 24th, wherein he observed: 
"The general cannot help lamenting the sudden and unex- 
pected departure of the French fleet, as he finds it has a ten- 
dency to discourage some who placed great dependence upon 
the assistance of it; though he can by no means suppose the 
army, or any part of it, endangered by this movement. He 
yet hopes the event will prove America able to procure 
that by her own arms which her allies refuse to assist in 

On cooler reflection he thought proper, in subsequent 
orders, to explain away the rash and unwarrantable imputa- 
tion on French loyalty contained in the foregoing document, 
but a general feeling of irritation against the French con- 
tinued to prevail in the army. 

As had been foretold, the departure of the fleet was a 
death-blow to the enterprise. Between two and three thou- 
sand volunteers abandoned the camp in the course of four 
and twenty hours; others continued to go off; desertions 
occurred among the militia, and in a few days the number 
of besiegers did not exceed that of the besieged. 

All thoughts of offensive operations were now at an end. 
The question was how best to extricate the army from its 

Cife of U/asr;in<$tOQ 207 

perilous position. The harbors of Rhode Island being now 
free, and open to the enemy, re-enforcements might pour in 
from New York, and render the withdrawal of the troops 
disastrous, if not impossible. To prepare for rapid retreat, 
if necessary, all the heavy artillery that could be spared was 
sent off from the island. On the 28th it was determined, 
in a council of war, to fall back to the military works at the 
north end of the island and fortify there, until it should be 
known whether the French fleet would soon return to their 
assistance, the Marquis Lafayette setting off with all speed 
to kave an interview with the Count D'Estaing, and ascer- 
tain the fact. 

General Sullivan broke up his camp, and commenced his 
retreat that very night, between nine and ten o'clock; the 
army retiring by two roads; the rear covered by parties of 
light troops, under Colonels Livingston and Laurens. 

Their retreat was not discovered until daylight, when a 
pursuit was commenced. The covering parties behaved gal- 
lantly, making frequent stands, abandoning one eminence 
only to take post on another, and keeping up a retreating fire 
that checked the advance of the enemy. After a series of 
skirmishes they were pressed back to the fortified grounds 
on the north end of the island; but Sullivan had already 
taken post there, on Batt's Hill, the main body of his army 
being drawn up in order of battle, with strong works in their 
rear and a redoubt in front of the right wing. 

The British now took post on an advantageous height 
called Quaker Hill, a little more than a mile from the Amer- 
ican front, whence they commenced a cannonade which was 
briskly returned. Skirmishing ensued until about ten o'clock, 
when two British sloops-of-war and some small vessels hav- 
ing gained a favorable position, the enemy's troops, under 

208 U/or^s of U/a8^ii?<$tor> Iruio$ 

cover of their fire, advanced in force to turn the right flank 
of the American army and capture the redoubt which pro- 
tected it. This was bravely defended by General Greene; 
a sharp action ensued, which had nearly become a general 
one; between two and three hundred men were killed on 
each side; the British at length drew back to their artillery 
and works on Quaker Hill, and a mutual cannonade was 
resumed and kept up until night. 

On the following day (29th) the enemy continued his 
distant firing, but waited for re-enforcements before coming 
to close quarters. In the meantime, General Sullivan had 
received intelligence that Lord Howe had again put to sea, 
with the design, no doubt, to attempt the relief of Newport; 
and then followed another report that a fleet with troops was 
actually off Block Island, and must arrive almost imme- 
diately in the harbor. 

Under these circumstances it was determined to abandon 
Rhode Island. To do so with safety, however, required the 
utmost caution, as the hostile sentries were within four hun- 
dred yards of each other, and any suspicious movements 
would be easily discovered and reported to the British com- 
mander. The position on Batt's Hill favored a deception. 
Tents were brought forward and pitched in sight of the 
enemy, and a great part of the troops employed throughout 
the day in throwing up works, as if the post was to be reso- 
lutely maintained ; at the same time, the heavy baggage and 
stores were quietly conveyed away in the rear of the hill, 
and ferried across the bay. As soon as it was dark the tents 
were struck, fires were lighted at various points, the troops 
withdrawn, and in a few hours the whole were transported 
across the channel to the mainland. In the height of the 
transit Lafayette arrived. He had ridden from the island 

Cife of U/asl?ii}$fcoi> 209 

to Boston, a distance of nearly seventy miles, in seven hours, 
and had conferred with the French admiral. 

D'Estaing had convinced him of the inadequacy of hia 
naval force, but had made a spirited offer of leading his 
troops by land to co-operate with the Americans. Eager 
to be in time for any engagement that might take place, 
Lafayette had spurred back still more speedily than he went, 
but was disappointed and mortified at finding all the fighting 
over. He arrived in time, however, to bring off the pickets 
and covering parties, amounting to a thousand men, which 
he did in such excellent order that not a man was left behind, 
nor the smallest article lost. 

The whole army had crossed by two o'clock in the morn- 
ing, un perceived by the enemy, and had reason to congratu- 
late themselves on the course they had taken and the quick- 
ness of their movements ; for the very next day Sir Henry 
Clinton arrived at Newport in a light squadron, with a re- 
enforcement of four thousand men, a naval and land force 
that might effectually have cut off Sullivan's retreat, had 
he lingered on the island. 

Sir Henry, finding he had arrived a day too late, returned 
to New York, bat first detached Major-general Sir Charles 
Grey with the troops, od a ravaging expedition to the east- 
ward ; chiefly against ports which were the haunts of pri- 
vateers. This was the same general that had surprised 
"Wayne in the preceding year, and effected such slaughter 
among his men with the bayonet. He appears to have been 
fitted for rough and merciless warfare. In the course of his 
present expedition he destroyed more than seventy vessels 
in Acushnet River, some of them privateers with their prizes, 
others peaceful merchant ships. New Bedford and Fair 
Haven having been made military and naval deposits, were 

210 U/or^s of U/as^ir><$toi) Iruirp<$ 

laid waste, wharfs demolished, rope-walks, storehouses and 
mills, with several private dwellings, wrapped in flames. 
Similar destruction was effected at the Island of Martha's 
Vineyard, a resort of privateers; where the inhabitants were 
disarmed and a heavy contribution levied upon them in sheep 
and cattle. Having thus ravaged the coasts of New Eng- 
land, the squadron returned laden with inglorious spoil to 
New York. 

Lord Howe, also, who had sailed for Boston in the hope 
of intercepting the Count D'Estaing, and had reached there 
on the 30th of August, found the French fleet safely shel- 
tered in Nantasket Road, and protected by American batteries 
erected on commanding points. He also returned to New 
York, and shortly afterward, availing himself of a permission 
granted him some time before by government, resigned the 
command of the fleet to Admiral Gambier, to hold it until 
the arrival of Admiral Byron. His lordship then returned 
to England, having rendered important services by his opera- 
tions along the American coast and on the waters of the 
Delaware, and presenting a strong contrast, in his incessant 
activity, to the easy indolence and self-indulgence of his 

The failure of the combined enterprise against Rhode Isl- 
and was the cause of universal chagrin and disappointment, 
but to none more so than to Washington, as is evident from 
the following passage of a letter to his brother, John Augus- 
tine : 

" An unfortunate storm, and some measures taken in con- 
sequence of it by the French admiral, blasted in one moment 
the fairest hopes that ever were conceived; and, from a 
moral certainty of success, rendered it a matter of rejoicing 
to get our own troops safe off the island. If the garrison 

Cife of U/asl?in<$t:on 211 

of that place, consistiDg of nearly six thousand men, had 
been captured, as there was, in appearance at least, a hun- 
dred to one in favor of it, it would have given the finishing 
blow to British pretensions of sovereignty over this country ; 
and would, I am persuaded, have hastened the departure of 
the troops in New York, as fast as their canvas wings would 
carry them away." 

But what gave Washington the greatest solicitude was 
the effect of this disappointment upon the public mind. The 
failure of the enterprise was generally attributed to the de- 
parture of the French fleet from Newport, and there was at 
one time such popular exasperation that it was feared the 
means of repairing the French ships at Boston would be 
withheld. Count D'Estaing, and the other French officers, 
on their part, were irritated by the protests of the American 
officers and the expressions in Sullivan's general order de- 
rogatory to French loyalty. The count addressed a letter 
to Congress, explaining and vindicating his conduct sub- 
sequent to his arrival on the coast. 

Washington regarded this mutual irritation, which had 
so suddenly sprung up between the army and the fleet, with 
the most poignant anxiety. He wrote to Sullivan and Greene 
on the subject, urging them to suppress the feuds and jeal- 
ousies which had already arisen, to conceal as much as pos- 
sible from the soldiery and public the misunderstandings 
which had occurred between the officers of the two nations; 
to discountenance all illiberal and unfriendly observations on 
the part of the army, and to cultivate the utmost harmony 
and good will. 

Congress, also, endeavored to suppress the protest of the 
officers of Sullivan's army which had given so much offense; 
and, in a public resolution, expressed their perfect approba- 

212 U/or^s of U/asl?ir}$toi) Iruio$ 

tion of the conduct of the count, and their sense of his zeal 
and attachment. 

Nothing perhaps tended more to soothe his wounded sen- 
sibilities than a letter from "Washington, couched in the most 
delicate and considerate language. "If the deepest regret, 
that the best concerted enterprise and bravest exertions 
should have been rendered fruitless by a disaster which 
human prudence was incapable of foreseeing or preventing, 
can alleviate disappointment, you may be assured that the 
whole continent sympathizes with you. It will be a conso- 
lation to you to reflect that the thinking part of mankind do 
not form their judgment from events; and that their equity 
will ever attach equal glory to those actions which deserve 
success and those which have been crowned with it. It is 
in the trying circumstances to which your excellency has 
been exposed that the virtues of a great mind are displayed 
in their brightest luster, and that a general's character is 
better known than in the hour of victory. It was yours, by 
every title which can give it; and the adverse element, which 
robbed you of your prize, can never deprive you of the glory 
due to you." 

Cife of U/as^ip^top 213 


Indian Warfare — Desolation of the Valley of Wyoming — Move- 
ments in New York — Counter Movements of Washington — 
Foraging Parties of the Enemy — Baylor's Dragoons massacred 
at Old Tappan — British Expedition against Little Egg Harbor 
— Massacre of Pulaski's Infantry — Retaliation on Donop's Rang- 
ers — Arrival of Admiral Byron — Endeavors to entrap D'Es- 
taing, but is disappointed — Expedition against St. Lucia — Expe- 
dition against Georgia — Capture of Savannah — Georgia subdued 
— General Lincoln sent to command in the South 

"While hostilities were carried on in the customary form 
along the Atlantic borders, Indian warfare, with all its atroc- 
ity, was going on in the interior. The British post at Ni- 
agara was its cradle. It was the common rallying place 
of tories, refugees, savage warriors, and other desperadoes of 
the frontiers. Hither Brant, the noted Indian chief, had re- 
tired after the repulse of St. Leger at Fort Schuyler, to plan 
further mischief; and here was concerted the memorable in- 
cursion into the Valley of Wyoming, suggested by tory refu- 
gees who had until recently inhabited it. 

The Valley of Wyoming is a beautiful region lying along 
the Susquehanna. Peaceful as was its aspect, it had been the 
scene of sanguinary feuds prior to the Revolution, between 
the people of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, who both laid 
claim to it. Seven rural forts or block-houses, situated on 
various parts of the valley, had been strongholds during 
these territorial contests, and remained as places of refuge 
for women and children in times of Indian ravage. 

The expedition now set on foot against it, in June, was 

214 U/or^s of UVastyir^tor) Iruir)©; 

composed of Butler's rangers, Johnson's loyal greens, and 
Brant, with his Indian braves. Their united force, about 
eleven hundred strong, was conducted by Colonel John But- 
ler, renowned in Indian warfare. Passing from the Che- 
mung and Susquehanna in canoes, they landed at a place 
called Three Islands, struck through the wilderness to a gap 
or w notch" of the mountains, by which they entered the 
Valley of Wyoming. Butler made his headquarters at one 
of the strongholds already mentioned, called Wintermoot's 
Fort, from a tory family of the same name. Hence he sent 
out his marauding parties to plunder and lay waste the 

Rumors of this intended invasion had reached the valley 
some time before the appearance of the enemy, and had 
spread great consternation. Most of the sturdy yeomanry 
were absent in the army. A company of sixty men, enlisted 
under an act of Congress, and hastily and imperfectly organ- 
ized, yet styling themselves regulars, took post at one of the 
strongholds called Forty Fort; where they were joined by 
about three hundred of the most efficient of the yeomanry, 
armed and equipped in rude rustic style. In this emergency 
old men and boys volunteered to meet the common danger, 
posting themselves in the smaller forts in which women and 
children had taken refuge. Colonel Zebulon Butler, an 
officer of the Continental army, took the general command. 
Several officers arrived from the army, having obtained 
leave to repair home for the protection of their families. 
They brought word that a re -enforcement, sent by Wash- 
ington, was on its way. 

In the meantime the marauding parties sent out by But- 
ler and Brant were spreading desolation through the valley ; 
farmhouses were wrapped in flames ; husbandmen were mur- 

Cife of U/a8^ir)<$tor> 215 

dered while at work in the fields ; all who had not taken ref- 
uge in the fort were threatened with destruction. What was 
to be done? Wait for the arrival of the promised re-enforce- 
ment, or attempt to check the ravage? The latter was rashly 
determined on. 

Leaving the women and children in Forty Fort, Colonel 
Zebulon Butler with his men sallied forth on the 3d of July, 
and made a rapid move upon Wintermoot Fort, hoping to 
come upon it by surprise. They found the enemy drawn up 
in front of it, in a line extending from the river to a marsh ; 
Colonel John Butler and his rangers, with Johnson's royal 
greens, on the left; Indians and tories on the right. 

The Americans formed a line of the same extent; the 
regulars under Colonel Butler on the right flank, resting on 
the river, the militia under Colonel Denison on the left wing, 
on the marsh. A sharp fire was opened from right to left ; 
after a few volleys the enemy in front of Colonel Butler be- 
gan to give way. The Indians, however, throwing them- 
selves into the marsh, turned the left flank of the Ameri- 
cans, and attacked the militia in the rear. Denison, finding 
himself exposed to a cross fire, sought to change his position, 
and gave the word to fall back. It was mistaken for an or- 
der to retreat. In an instant the left wing turned and fled; 
all attempts to rally it were vain ; the panic extended to the 
right wing. The savages, throwing down their rifles, rushed 
on with tomahawk and scalping knife, and a horrible mas- 
sacre ensued. Some of the Americans escaped to Forty 
Fort, some swam the river; others broke their way across 
the swamp and climbed the mountain; some few were taken 
prisoners; but the greater number were slaughtered. 

The desolation of the valley was now completed ; fields 
were laid waste, houses burned, and their inhabitants mur- 

216 U/or^s of U/as^io^top Irvip<£ 

dered. According to the British accounts, upward of four 
hundred of the yeomanry of Wyoming were slain, but the 
women and children were spared, "and desired to retire to 
their rebel friends." * 

Upward of five thousand persons, says the same account, 
fled in the utmost distress and consternation, seeking refuge 
in the settlements on the Lehigh and the Delaware. After 
completing this horrible work of devastation, the enemy re- 
tired before the arrival of the troops detached by "Washington. 

"We might have swelled our narrative of this affair by 
many individual acts of atrocity committed by royalists on 
their old friends and neighbors, and even their near rela- 
tives; but we forbear to darken our page by such stigmas on 
human nature. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most atro- 
cious outrages perpetrated throughout the war; and, as us- 
ual, the tories concerned in it were the most vindictive and 
merciless of the savage crew. Of the measures taken in 
consequence we shall speak hereafter. 

For a great part of the summer, Washington had re- 
mained encamped at "White Plains, watching the move- 
ments of the enemy at New York. Early in September 
he observed a great stir of preparation ; cannon and mili- 
tary stores were embarked, and a fleet of one hundred and 
forty transports were ready to make sail. "What was their 
destination? "Washington deplored the facility possessed by 
the enemy of transporting their troops from point to point 
by sea. "Their rapid movements," said ho, "enable them 
to give us solicitude for the safety of remote points, to succor 
which we should have to make ruinous marches^ and after 
all, perhaps, find ourselves the dupes of a feint." 

* u 

Gentleman's Magazine" for 1778, p. 545, 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tOD 217 

There were but two capital objects which they could have 
in view, besides the defeat and dispersion of his army. One 
was to get possession of the forts and passes of the High- 
lands; the other, by a junction of their land and naval 
forces, to attempt the destruction of the French fleet at Bos- 
ton, and regain possession of that town. These points were 
so far asunder that it was difficult to protect the one without 
leaving the other exposed. To do the best that the nature 
of the case would admit, Washington strengthened the works 
and re-enforced the garrison in the Highlands, stationing 
Putnam with two brigades in the neighborhood of West 
Point. General Gates was sent with three brigades to Dan- 
bury in Connecticut, where he was joined by two brigades 
under General McDougall, while Washington moved his 
camp to a rear position at Fredericksburg on the borders 
of Connecticut, and about thirty miles from West Point, so 
as to be ready for a movement to the eastward or a speedy 
junction for the defense of the Hudson. To facilitate an 
eastern movement he took measures to have all the roads 
leading to Boston repaired. 

Scarce had Washington moved from White Plains, when 
Sir Henry Clinton threw a detachment of five thousand men 
under Lord Cornwallis into the Jerseys, between the Hack- 
ensack and Hudson Rivers, and another of three thousand 
under Knyphausen into Westchester County, between the 
Hudson and the Bronx. These detachments held communi- 
cation with each other, and by the aid of flat- bottomed boats 
could unite their forces, in twenty-four hours, on either side 
of the Hudson. 

Washington considered these mere foraging expeditions, 
though on a large scale, and detached troops into the Jer- 
seys to co-operate with the militia in checking thorn; but, 

Vol. XIV.—* * * 10 

#18 UVorl^s of U/asl?ii?<$toi) Iruir><? 

as something more might be intended, he ordered General 
Putnam to cross the river to West Point, for its immediate 
security; while he himself moved with a division of his 
army to Fishkill. 

Wayne, who was with the detachment in the Jerseys, 
took post with a body of militia and a regiment of light-horse 
in front of the division of Lord Cornwallis. The militia 
were quartered at the village of New Tappan ; but Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Baylor, who commanded the light-horse, chose 
to encamp apart, to be free, as is supposed, from the control 
of Wayne. He took up his quarters, therefore, in Old Tap- 
pan, where his men lay very negligently and unguardedly in 
barns. Cornwallis had intelligence of their exposed situation 
and laid a plan to cut off the whole detachment. A body of 
troops from Knyphausen's division was to cross the Hudson 
in the night and come by surprise upon the militia in New 
Tappan : at the same time, Major-general Grey, of maraud- 
ing renown, was to advance on the left, and attack Baylor 
and his dragoons in their careless quarters in Old Tappan. 

Fortunately Knyphausen's troops, led by Lieutenant- 
colonel Campbell, were slow in crossing the river, and the 
militia were apprised by deserters of their danger in time to 
escape. Not so with Baylor's party. General Grey, hav- 
ing cut off a sergeant's patrol, advanced in silence, and sur- 
rounded with his troops three barns in which the dragoons 
were sleeping. We have seen, in his surprise of Wayne's 
detachment in the preceding year, how stealthy and effect- 
ive he was in the work of destruction. To prevent noise he 
had caused his men to draw the charges and take the flints 
from their guns, and fix their bayonets. The bayonet was 
his favorite weapon. With this his men rushed forward, 
and, deaf for a time to all cries of mercy, made a savage 

Cife of \JJasl)'ir)$tor) 219 

slaughter of naked and defenseless men. Eleven were killed 
on the spot, and twenty -five mangled with repeated thrusts, 
some receiving ten, twelve, and even sixteen wounds. 
Among the wounded were Colonel Baylor and Major 
Clough, the last of whom soon died. About forty were 
taken prisoners, mostly through the humane interposition 
of one of Grey's captains, whose feelings revolted at the 
orders of his sanguinary commander. 

This whole movement of troops, on both sides of the 
Hudson, was designed to cover an expedition against Little 
Egg Harbor, on the east coast of New Jersey, a noted ren- 
dezvous of American privateers. It was conducted in much 
the same spirit with that of General Grey to the eastward. 
Three hundred regular troops, and a body of royalist volun- 
teers from the Jerseys, headed by Captain Patrick Fergu- 
son, embarked at New York on board galleys and transports, 
and made for Little Egg Harbor under convoy of vessels of 
war. They were long at sea. The country heard of their 
coming; four privateers put to sea and escaped; others took 
refuge up the river. The wind prevented the transports 
from entering. The troops embarked in row galleys and 
small craft, and pushed twenty miles up the river to the vil- 
lage of Chestnut Neck. Here were batteries without guns, 
prize ships which had been hastily scuttled, and storehouses 
for the reception of prize goods. The batteries and store- 
houses were demolished, the prize ships burned, salt works 
destroyed, and private dwellings sacked and laid in ashes; 
all, it was pretended, being the property of persons concerned 
in privateering, or "whose activity in the cause of America, 
and unrelenting persecution of the loyalists, marked them 
out as the proper objects of vengeance." As those persons 
were pointed out by the tory volunteers of New Jersey who 

220 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi) Iruii)<? 

accompanied the expedition, we may suppose how far private 
pique and neighborly feud entered into these proscriptions. 

The vessels which brought this detachment being wind- 
bound for several days, Captain Ferguson had time for an- 
other enterprise. Among the forces detached by "Washing- 
ton into the Jerseys to check these ravages was the Count 
Pulaski's legionary corps, composed of three companies of 
foot, and a troop of horse, officered principally by foreigners. 
A deserter from the corps brought word to the British com- 
mander that the legion was cantoned about twelve miles up 
the river ; the infantry in three houses by themselves ; Count 
Pulaski with the cavalry at some distance apart. 

Informed of these circumstances, Captain Ferguson em- 
barked in boats with two hundred and fifty men, ascended 
the river in the night, landed at four in the morning, and 
surrounded the houses in which the infantry were sleeping. 
"It being a night attack," says the captain in his official re- 
port, "little quarter of course could be given, so there were 
only five prisoners. ' ' It was indeed a massacre similar to 
those of the bayonet-loving General Grey. Fifty of the in- 
fantry were butchered on the spot; among whom were two 
of the foreign officers, the Baron de Bose and Lieutenant 
de la Broderie. 

The clattering of hoofs gave note of the approach of Pu- 
laski and his horse, whereupon the British made a rapid 
retreat to their boats and pulled down the river, and thus 
ended the marauding expedition of Captain Ferguson, worthy 
of the times of the buccaneers. He attempted afterward to 
excuse his wanton butchery of unarmed men, by alleging 
that the deserter from Pulaski's legion told him the count, in 
his general orders, forbade all granting of quarter; informa- 
tion which proved to be false, and which, had he been a gen- 

Cife of U/asl?ii?<$toi> 221 

tleman of honorable spirit, he never would have believed, 
especially on the word of a deserter. 

The detachment on the east side of the Hudson likewise 
made a predatory and disgraceful foray from their lines at 
King's Bridge, toward the American encampment at "White 
Plains, plundering the inhabitants without discrimination, 
not only of their provisions and forage, but of the very 
clothes on their backs. None were more efficient in this rav- 
age than a party of about one hundred of Captain Don op's 
Hessian yagers, and they were in full maraud between 
Tarrytown and Dobb's Ferry, when a detachment of in- 
fantry under Colonel Richard Butler, and of cavalry under 
Major Henry Lee, came upon them by surprise, killed ten 
of them on the spot, captured a lieutenant and eighteen pri- 
vates, and would have taken or destroyed the whole, had 
not the extreme roughness of the country impeded the action 
of the cavalry, and enabled the yagers to escape by scram- 
bling up hill-sides or plunging into ravines. This occurred 
but three days after the massacre of Colonel Baylor's party, 
on the opposite side of the Hudson. 

The British detachments having accomplished the main 
objects of their movements, returned to New York; leaving 
those parts of the country they had harassed still more de- 
termined in their hostility, having achieved nothing but 
what is least honorable and most detestable in warfare. We 
need no better comment on these measures than one fur- 
nished by a British writer of the day. ''Upon the whole,' 5 
observes he, "even if the treaty between France and America 
had not rendered all hope of success from the present concili- 
atory system hopeless, these predatory and irritating expedi- 
tions would have appeared peculiarly ill-timed and unlucky. 
Though strongly and warmly recommended by many here 

222 U/or^s of U/asfyio^tor; Iruip$ 

as the most effectual mode of war, we scarcely remember 
an instance in which they have not been more mischievous 
than useful to the grand objects of either reducing or rec- 
onciling the provinces." * 

We may add here that General Grey, who had most sig- 
nalized himself in these sanguinary exploits, and who, from 
his stealthy precaution to insure the use of the bayonet, had 
acquired the surname of "no flint," was rewarded for a long 
career of military services by being raised to the peerage as 
Lord Grey of Howick, ultimately Earl Grey. He was father 
of the celebrated prime minister of that name. 

About the middle of September, Admiral Byron arrived 
at New York with the residue of the scattered armament, 
which had sailed from England in June to counteract the 
designs of the Count D'Estaing. Finding that the count 
was still repairing his shattered fleet in the harbor of Bos- 
ton, he put to sea again as soon as his ships were refitted, 
and set sail for that port to entrap him. Success seemed 
likely to crown his schemes: he arrived off Boston on the 1st 
of November : his rival was still in port. Scarce had the ad- 
miral entered the bay, however, when another violent storm 
drove him out to sea, disabled his ships, and compelled him 
to put into Rhode Island to refit. Meanwhile the count, hav- 
ing his ships in good order, and finding the coast clear, put 
to sea, and made the best of his way for the West Indies. 
Previous to his departure he issued a proclamation dated the 
28th of October, addressed to the French inhabitants of Can- 
ada, inviting them to resume allegiance to their former sov- 
ereign. This was a measure in which he was not authorized 
by instructions from his government, and which was calcu- 
lated to awaken a jealousy in the American mind as to the 
* Annual Register, 1778, p. 215. 

Cife of U/asl?iD<$ton 223 

ultimate views of France in taking a part in this contest. It 
added to the chagrin occasioned by the failure of the expedi- 
tion against Rhode Island, and the complete abandonment 
by the French of the coasts of the United States. 

The force at New York, which had been an object of 
watchful solicitude, was gradually dispersed in different di- 
rections. Immediately after the departure of Admiral Byron 
for Boston, another naval expedition had been set on foot by 
Sir Henry Clinton. All being ready, a fleet of transports 
with five thousand men, under General Grant, convoyed by 
Commodore Hotham with a squadron of six ships of war, 
set sail on the third of November, with the secret design of 
an attack on St. Lucia. 

Toward the end of the same month, another body of 
troops, under Lieutenant - colonel Campbell, sailed for 
Georgia in the squadron of Commodore Hyde Parker; 
the British cabinet having determined to carry the war 
into the Southern States. At the same time General Pre- 
vost, who commanded in Florida, was ordered by Sir Henry 
Clinton to march to the banks of the Savannah River, and 
attack Georgia in flank, while the expedition under Camp- 
bell should attack it in front on the seaboard. We will 
briefly note the issue of these enterprises, so far beyond 
"Washington's control. 

The squadron of Commodore Hyde Parker anchored in 
the Savannah River toward the end of December. An 
American force of about six hundred regulars, and a few 
militia under General Robert Howe, were encamped near 
the town, being the remnant of an army with which that 
officer had invaded Florida in the preceding summer, but 
had been obliged to evacuate it by a mortal malady which 
desolated bis camp. 

224 U/or^s of U/as^i^^tOQ Iruir)<$ 

Lieutenant-colonel Campbell landed his troops on the 
29th of December, about three miles below the town. The 
whole country bordering the river is a deep morass, cut up 
by creeks, and only to be traversed by causeways. Over 
one of these, six hundred yards in length, with a ditch on 
each side, Colonel Campbell advanced, putting to flight a 
small party stationed to guard it. General Howe had posted 
his little army on the main road with the river on his left 
and a morass in front. A negro gave Campbell information 
of a path leading through the morass, by which troops might 
get unobserved to the rear of the Americans. Sir James 
Baird was detached with the light infantry by this path, 
while Colonel Campbell advanced in front. The Americans, 
thus suddenly attacked in front and rear, were completely 
routed; upward of one hundred were either killed on the 
spot or perished in the morass ; thirty-eight officers and four 
hundred and fifteen privates were taken prisoners, the rest 
retreated up the Savannah River and crossed into South 

Savannah, the capital of Georgia, was taken possession 
of by the victors, with cannon, military stores, and provis- 
ions; their loss was only seven killed and nineteen wounded. 

Colonel Campbell conducted himself with great modera- 
tion; protecting the persons and property of the inhabitants, 
and proclaiming security and favor to all that should return 
to their allegiance. Numbers in consequence flocked to the 
British standard : the lower part of Georgia was considered 
as subdued, and posts were established by" the British to 
maintain possession. 

While Colonel Campbell had thus invaded Georgia in 
front, General Prevost, who commanded the British forces 
in Florida, had received orders from Sir Henry Clinton to 

Cife of UYasfyin^tor; 225 

take it in flank. He accordingly traversed deserts to its 
southern frontier, took Sunbury, the only remaining fort of 
importance, and marched to Savannah, where he assumed 
the general command, detaching Colonel Campbell against 
Augusta. By the middle of January (1779) all Georgia was 
reduced to submission. 

A more experienced American general than Howe had 
by this time arrived to take command of the Southern De- 
partment, Major-general Lincoln, who had gained such 
reputation in the campaign against Burgoyne, and whose 
appointment to this station had been solicited by the dele- 
gates from South Carolina and Georgia. He had received 
his orders from Washington in the beginning of October. 
Of his operations at the South we shall have occasion to 
speak hereafter. 


Winter Cantonments of the American Army — Washington at Mid- 
dlebrook — Plan of Alarm Signals for the Jerseys — Lafayette's 
Project for an Invasion of Canada — Favored by Congress — Con- 
demned by Washington — Relinquished — Washington in Phila- 
delphia — The War Spirit declining — Dissensions in Congress — 
Sectional Feelings — Patriotic Appeals of Washington — Plans 
for the next Campaign — Indian Atrocities to be repressed — 
Avenging Expedition set on foot — Discontents of the Jersey 
Troops — Appeased by the Interference of Washington — Suc- 
cessful Campaign against the Indians 

About the beginning of December, Washington distribr 
uted his troops for the winter in a line of strong cantonments 
extending from Long Island Sound to the Delaware. Gen- 
eral Putnam commanded at Danbury, General McDougall 
in the Highlands, while the headquarters of the commander- 
in-chief were near Middlebrook in the Jerseys. The objects 

226 U/or^s of U/asl?iD$ton Iruipq 

of this arrangement were the protection of the country ; the 
security of the important posts on the Hudson, and the safety, 
discipline, and easy subsistence of the army. 

In the course of this winter he devised a plan of alarm 
signals, which General Philemon Dickinson was employed 
to carry into effect. 

On Bottle Hill, which commanded a vast map of country, 
sentinels kept watch day and night. Should there be an 
irruption of the enemy, an eighteen-pounder, called the Old 
Sow, fired every half hour, gave the alarm in the daytime 
or in dark and stormy nights; an immense fire or beacon at 
other times. On the booming of that heavy gun, lights 
sprang up from hill to hill along the different ranges of 
heights ; the country was aroused, and the yeomanry, hastily 
armed, hurried to their gathering places. 

Washington was now doomed to experience great loss in 
the narrow circle of those about him, on whose attachment 
and devotion he could place implicit reliance. The Marquis 
Lafa}^ette, seeing no immediate prospect of active employ- 
ment in the United States, and anticipating a war on the 
continent of Europe, was disposed to return to France to 
offer his services to his sovereign ; desirous, however, of pre- 
serving a relation with America, he merely solicited from 
Congress the liberty of going home for the next winter; 
engaging himself not to depart until certain that the cam- 
paign was over. Washington backed his application for a 
furlough, as an arrangement that would still link him with 
the service ; expressing his reluctance to part with an officer 
who united "to all the military fire of youth an uncommon 
maturity of judgment." Congress in consequence granted 
the marquis an unlimited leave of absence, to return to 
America whenever he should find it convenient. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 227 

The marquis, in truth, was full of a grand project for the 
following summer's campaign, which he was anxious to lay 
before the cabinet of Versailles ; it was to effect the conquest 
of Canada by the combined forces, naval and military, of 
France and the United States. Of course it embraced a 
wide scope of operations. One body of American troops 
was to be directed against Detroit ; another against Niagara ; 
a third was to seize Oswego, launch a flotilla, and get com- 
mand of Lake Ontario; and a fourth to penetrate Canada 
by the river St. Francis, and secure Montreal and the posts 
on Lake Champlain. While the Americans thus invaded 
Upper Canada, a French fleet with five thousand men was 
to ascend the St. Lawrence and make an attack on Quebec. 
The scheme met the approbation of a great majority in Con- 
gress, who ordered it to be communicated to Dr. Franklin, 
then minister at Paris, to be laid by him before the French 
cabinet. Pervious to a final determination, the House pru- 
dently consulted the opinion of the commander-in-chief. 
Washington opposed the scheme, both by letter and in a 
personal interview with Congress, as too complicated and 
extensive, and requiring too great resources in men and 
money to be undertaken with a prospect of success. He 
opposed it also on political grounds. Though it had appar- 
ently originated in a proposition of the Marquis Lafayette, 
it might have had its birth in the French cabinet, with a 
view to some ulterior object. He suggested the danger of 
introducing a large body of French troops into Canada, and 
putting them in possession of the capital of a province 
attached to them by all the ties of blood, habits, manners, 
religion, and former connection of government. Let us 
realize for a moment, said he, the striking advantages France 
would derive from the possession of Canada; an extensive 

228 U/orKs of U/asbii)$ton Irving 

territory, abounding in supplies for the use of her islands; 
a vast source of the most beneficial commerce with the Indian 
nations, which she might then monopolize; ports of her own 
on this continent independent of the precarious good-will of 
an ally; the whole trade of Newfoundland whenever she 
pleased to engross it, the finest nursery for seamen in the 
world; and finally, the facility of awing and controlling 
these States, the natural and most formidable rival of every 
maritime power in Europe. All these advantages he feared 
might prove too great a temptation to be resisted by any 
power actuated by the common maxims of national policy ; 
and, with all his confidence in the favorable sentiments of 
France, he did not think it politic to subject her disinterested- 
ness to such a trial. "To waive every other consideration," 
said he grandly, in the conclusion of a letter to the President 
of Congress, "I do not like to add to the number of our 
national obligations. I would wish, as much as possible, 
to avoid giving a foreign power new claims of merit for 
services performed to the United States, and would ask no 
assistance that is not indispensable." 

The strenuous and far-seeing opposition of Washington 
was at length effectual ; and the magnificent, but hazardous, 
scheme was entirely, though slowly and reluctantly aban- 
doned. It appears since that the cabinet of France had 
really no hand either in originating or promoting it; but, 
on the contrary, was opposed to any expedition against 
Canada; and the instructions to their minister forbade him 
to aid in any such scheme of conquest. 

Much of the winter was passed by "Washington in Phila- 
delphia, occupied in devising and discussing plans for the 
campaign of 1779. It was an anxious moment with him. 
Circumstances which inspired others with confidence filled 

Cife of U/asl?ir>^top 229 

him with solicitude. The alliance with France had produced 
a baneful feeling of security, which, it appeared to him, was 
paralyzing the energies of the country. England, it was 
thought, would now be too much occupied in securing her 
position in Europe to increase her force or extend her opera- 
tions in America. Many, therefore, considered the war as 
virtually at an end ; and were unwilling to make the sacri- 
fices or supply the means necessary for important military 

Dissensions, too, and party feuds were breaking out in 
Congress, owing to the relaxation of that external pressure 
of a common and imminent danger, which had heretofore 
produced a unity of sentiment and action. That august 
body had, in fact, greatly deteriorated since the commence- 
ment of the war. Many of those whose names had been as 
watchwords at the Declaration of Independence had with- 
drawn from the national councils; occupied either by their 
individual affairs or by the affairs of their individual States. 
Washington, whose comprehensive patriotism embraced the 
whole Union, deprecated and deplored the dawning of this 
sectional spirit. America, he declared, had never stood in 
more imminent need of the wise, patriotic, and spirited exer- 
tions of her sons than at this period. The States, separately, 
were too much engaged in their local concerns, and had 
withdrawn too many of their ablest men from the general 
council, for the good of the common weal. "Our political 
system," observed he, "is like the mechanism of a clock; 
it is useless to keep the smaller wheels in order, if the 
greater one, the prime mover of the whole, is neglected." 
It was his wish, therefore, that each State should not only 
choose, but absolutely compel its ablest men to attend Con- 
gress, instructed to investigate and reform public abuses 

230 U/or^s of U/as^ir><$tor> Iruio<$ 

Nothing can exceed his appeal to the patriotism of his 
native State, Virginia, in a letter to Colonel Harrison, the 
speaker of its House of Delegates, written on the 30th of 

"Our affairs are in a more distressed, ruinous, and de- 
plorable condition than they have been since the commence- 
ment of the war. By a faithful laborer, then, in the cause ; 
by a man who is daily injuring his private estate without 
the smallest earthly advantage not common to all in case 
of a favorable issue to the dispute; by one who wishes the 
prosperity of America most devoutly, but sees it, or thinks 
he sees it, on the brink of ruin ; you are besought most ear- 
nestly, my dear Colonel Harrison, to exert yourself in endeav- 
oring to rescue your country, by sending your best and ablest 
men to Congress. These characters must not slumber nor 
sleep at home in such a time of pressing danger. They must 
not content themselves with the enjoyment of places of honor 
or profit in their own State, while the common interests of 
America are mouldering and sinking into irretrievable ruin. 
... If I were to be called upon to draw a picture of the 
times and of men, from what I have seen, heard, and in part 
know, I should in one word say that idleness, dissipation and 
extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most of them ; 
that speculation, peculation and an insatiable thirst for riches 
seem to have got the better of every other consideration, and 
almost of every order of men ; that party disputes and per- 
sonal quarrels are the great business of the day ; while the 
momentous concerns of an empire, a great and accumulating 
debt, ruined finances, depreciated money, and want of credit, 
which in its consequences is the want of everything, are but 
secondary considerations, and postponed from day to day, 
from week to week, as if our affairs wore the most promising 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$t09 231 

aspect. ... In the present situation of things, I cannot 
help asking where are Mason, Wythe, Jefferson, Nicholas, 
Pendleton, Nelson, and another I could name? And why, 
if you are sufficiently impressed with your danger, do you 
not, as New York has done in the case of Mr. Jay, send an 
extra member or two, for at least a limited time, till the 
great business of the nation is put upon a more respectable 
and happy establishment? ... I confess to you I feel 
more real distress on account of the present appearance of 
things than I have done at any one time since the commence- 
ment of the dispute." 

Nothing seems to have disgusted him more during his 
visit to Philadelphia than the manner in which the concerns 
of the patriot camp were forgotten amid the revelry of the 
capital. "An assembly, a concert, a dinner, a supper, that 
will cost three or four hundred pounds, will not only take 
men off from acting in this business, but even from thinking 
of it ; while a great part of the officers of our army, from 
absolute necessity, are quitting the service, and the more 
virtuous few, rather than do this, are sinking by sure de- 
grees into beggary and want." 

In discussing the policy to be observed in the next cam- 
paign, Washington presumed the enemy would maintain 
their present posts, and conduct the war as heretofore; in 
which case he was for remaining entirely on the defensive; 
with the exception of such minor operations as might be 
necessary to check the ravages of the Indians. The country, 
he observed, was in a languid and exhausted state, and had 
need of repose. The interruption to agricultural pursuits, 
and the many hands abstracted from husbandry by military 
service, had produced a scarcity of bread and forage, and 
rendered it difficult to subsist large armies. Neither wi 

232 U/orl^s of U/as^ip<$toi> Iruioo; 

it easy to recruit these armies. There was abundance of 
employment ; wages were high, the value of money was low ; 
consequently there was but little temptation to enlist. Plans 
had been adopted to remedy the deranged state of the cur- 
rency, but they would be slow in operation. Great economy 
must in the meantime be observed in the public expenditure. 

The participation of France in the war, also, and the pros- 
pect that Spain would soon be embroiled with England, must 
certainly divide the attention of the enemy, and allow Amer- 
ica a breathing time ; these and similar considerations were 
urged by Washington in favor of a defensive policy. One 
single exception was made by him. The horrible ravages 
and massacres perpetrated by the Indians and their tory 
allies at Wyoming had been followed by similar atrocities 
at Cherry Valley, in the State of New York, and called for 
signal vengeance to prevent a repetition. Washington knew 
by experience that Indian warfare, to be effective, should 
never be merely defensive, but must be carried into the 
enemy's country. The Six Nations, the most civilized of 
the savage tribes, had proved themselves the most formi- 
dable. His idea was to make war upon them in their own 
style; penetrate their country, lay waste their villages and 
settlements, and at the same time destroy the British post 
at Niagara, that nestling- place of tories and refugees. 

The policy thus recommended was adopted by Congress. 
An expedition was set on foot to carry that part relative to 
the Indians into execution ; but here a circumstance occurred 
which Washington declared gave him more pain than any 
thing that had happened in the war. A Jersey brigade 
being ordered to march, the officers of the first regiment 
hesitated to obey. By the depreciation of paper money their 
pay was incompetent to their support ; it was, in fact, merely 

Cife of \JJas\)ir)QtOT) 233 

nominal; the consequence was, as they alleged, that they 
were loaded with debt, and their families at home were 
starving; yet the Legislature of their State turned a deaf 
ear to their complaints. Thus aggrieved, they addressed 
a remonstrance to the Legislature on the subject of their 
pay, intimating that, should it not receive the immediate 
attention of that body, they might, at the expiration of three 
days, be considered as having resigned, and other officers 
might be appointed in their place. 

Here was one of the many dilemmas which called for 
the judgment, moderation and great personal weight and 
influence of Washington. He was eminently the soldier's 
friend, but he was no less thoroughly the patriot general. 
He knew and felt the privations and distresses of the army, 
and the truth of the grievances complained of; but he saw, 
also, the evil consequences that might result from such a 
course as that which the officers had adopted. Acting, there- 
fore, as a mediator, he corroborated the statements of the 
complainants on the one hand, urging on government the 
necessity of a more general and adequate provision for the 
officers of the army, and the danger of subjecting them to 
too severe and continued privations. On the other hand, 
he represented to the officers the difficulties with which gov- 
ernment itself had to contend from a deranged currency and 
exhausted resources; and the unavoidable delays that conse- 
quently impeded its moneyed operations. He called upon 
them, therefore, for a further exertion of that patience and 
perseverance which had hitherto done them the highest 
honor at home and abroad, had inspired him with unlimited 
confidence in their virtue, and consoled him amid every per 
plexity and reverse of fortune to which the national affairs 
had been exposed. "Now that we have made so great a 

234 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^toi) Irving 

progress to the attainment of the end we have in view,'* 
observed he, "anything like a change of conduct would 
imply a very unhappy change of principle*, and a forgetful- 
ness, as well of what we owe to ourselves, as to our country. 
Did I suppose it possible this could be the case even in a 
single regiment of the army, I should be mortified and cha- 
grined beyond expression. I should feel it as a wound given 
to my own honor, which I consider as embarked with that 
of the army at large. 

"But the gentlemen," adds he, "cannot be in earnest; 
they cannot seriously intend anything that would be a stain 
on their former reputation. They have only reasoned wrong 
about the means of obtaining a good end ; and on considera- 
tion, I hope and flatter myself they will renounce what must 
appear to be improper. At the opening of a campaign, when 
under marching orders for an important service, their own 
honor, duty to the public and to themselves, and a regard 
to military propriety, will not suffer them to persist in a 
measure which would be a violation of them all. It will 
even wound their delicacy, coolly to reflect that they have 
hazarded a step which has an air of dictating to their coun- 
try, by taking advantage of the necessity of the moment; 
for the declaration they have made to the State, at so critical 
a time, that, unless they obtain relief in the short period of 
three days, they must be considered out of the service, has 
very much that aspect." 

These and other observations of similar purport were 
contained in a letter to General Maxwell, their commander, 
to be laid before the officers. It produced a respectful reply, 
but one which intimated no disposition to swerve from their 
determination. After reiterating their grievances, "we are 
sorry," added they, "that you should imagine we meant 

Cife of U/askington 235 

to disobey orders. It was and is still our determination to 
march with our regiment, and to do the duty of officers 
until the Legislature shall have a reasonable time to appoint 
others, but no longer. "We beg leave to assure your Excel- 
lency that we have the highest sense of your ability and 
virtues ; that executing your orders has ever given us pleas- 
ure ; that we love the service, and love our country — but 
when that country gets so lost to virtue and justice as to 
forget to support its servants it then becomes their duty 
to retire from its service." 

A commander of less magnanimity than Washington 
would have answered this letter by a stern exercise of mili- 
tary rule, and driven the really aggrieved parties to ex- 
tremity. He nobly contented himself with the following 
comment on it, forming a paragraph of a letter to General 
Maxwell. U I am sorry the gentlemen persist in the princi- 
ples which dictated the step they have taken; as, the more 
the affair unfolds itself, the more reason I see to disapprove 
it. But in the present view they have of the matter, and 
with their present feelings, it is not probable any new argu 
ment that could be offered would have more influence than 
the former. While, therefore, the gentlemen continue in the 
execution of their duty, as they declare themselves heartily 
disposed to do, I shall only regret that they have taken a 
step of which they must hereafter see the impropriety." 

The Legislature of New Jersey imitated the forbearance 
of Washington. Compounding with their pride, they let the 
officers know that on their withdrawing the memorial the 
subject matter of it would be promptly attended to. It was 
withdrawn. Resolutions were immediately passed, granting 
pecuniary supplies to both officers and soldiers. The money 
►rthwith forwarded to camp, and the brigade marched. 

230 U/orl^s of U/asfyir^tor) Iruir?^ 

Such was the paternal spirit exercised by Washington in 
all the difficulties and discontents of the army. How clearly 
he understood the genius and circumstances of the people 
he was called upon to manage ; and how truly was he their 
protector even more than their commander ! 

We shall briefly dispose of the Indian campaign. The 
first act was an expedition from Fort Schuyler by Colonel 
Van Schaick, Lieutenant-colonel Willett, and Major Coch- 
ran, with about six hundred men, who, on the 19th of April, 
surprised the towns of the Onondagas ; destroyed the whole 
settlement, and returned to the fort without the loss of a 
single man. 

The great expedition of the campaign, however, was in 
revenge of the massacre of Wyoming. Early in the sum- 
mer, three thousand men assembled in that lately desolated 
region, and, conducted by General Sullivan, moved up the 
west branch of the Susquehanna into the Seneca country. 
While on the way, they were joined by a part of the western 
army, under General James Clinton, who had come from the 
valley of the Mohawk by Otsego lake and the east branch 
of the Susquehanna. The united forces amounted to about 
five thousand men, of which Sullivan had the general com- 

The Indians, and their allies the tories, had received 
information of the intended invasion, and appeared in arms 
to oppose it. They were much inferior in force, however, 
being about fifteen hundred Indians and two hundred white 
men, commanded by the two Butlers, Johnson, and Brant. 
A battle took place at Newtown on the 29th of August, in 
which they were easily defeated. Sullivan then pushed for- 
ward into the heart of the Indian country, penetrating as 
far as the Genesee River, laying everything waste, setting 

Cife of U/a8t?iQ<$toi> 237 

fire to deserted dwellings, destroying cornfields, orchards, 
gardens, everything that could give sustenance to man, the 
design being to starve the Indians out of the country. The 
latter retreated before him with their families, and at length 
took refuge under the protection of the British garrison at 
Niagara. Having completed his errand, Sullivan returned 
to Easton in Pennsylvania. The thanks of Congress were 
voted to him and his army, but he shortly afterward resigned 
his commission on account of ill health and retired from the 

A smiliar expedition was undertaken by Colonel B rod- 
head, from Pittsburg up the Alleghany, against the Mingo, 
Muncey, and Seneca tribes, with similar results. The wis- 
dom of Washington's policy of carrying the war against the 
Indians into their country, and conducting it in their own 
way, was apparent from the general intimidation produced 
among the tribes by these expeditions, and the subsequent 
infrequency of their murderous incursions; the instigation 
of which by the British had been the most inhuman feature 
of this war. 


Predatory Warfare of the Enemy — Ravages on the Chesapeake — 
Hostilities on the Hudson — Verplanck's Point and Stony Point 
taken — Capture of New Haven — Fairfield and Norwalk de- 
stroyed — Washington Plans a Counter Stroke — Storming of 
Stony Point — Generous Letter of Lee 

The situation of Sir Henry Clinton must have been mor- 
tifying in the extreme to an officer of lofty ambition and 
generous aims. His force, between sixteen and seventeen 

238 U/orks of U/a8l?in<$ton Irving 

thousand strong, was superior in number, discipline, and 
equipment to that of Washington ; yet his instructions con- 
fined him to a predatory warfare carried on by attacks and 
marauds at distant points, harassing, it is true, yet irritating 
to the country intended to be conciliated, and brutalizing to 
his own soldiery. Such was the nature of an expedition set 
on foot against the commerce of the Chesapeake; by which 
commerce the armies were supplied and the credit of the 
government sustained. On the 9th May, a squadron under 
Sir George Collier, convoying transports and galleys, with 
twenty-five hundred men, commanded by General Mathews, 
entered these waters, took possession of Portsmouth without 
opposition, sent out armed parties against Norfolk, Suffolk, 
Gosport, Kemp's Landing, and other neighboring places, 
where were immense quantities of provisions, naval and 
military stores, and merchandise of all kinds; with numer- 
ous vessels, some on the stocks, others richly laden. Where- 
ever they went, a scene of plunder, conflagration and de- 
struction ensued. A few days sufficed to ravage the whole 

"While this was going on at the south, Washington re- 
ceived intelligence of movements at New York and in its 
vicinity, which made him apprehend an expedition against 
the Highlands of the Hudson. 

Since the loss of Forts Montgomery and Clinton, the 
main defenses of the Highlands had been established at the 
sudden bend of the river where it winds between West Point 
and Constitution Island. Two opposite forts commanded 
this bend, and an iron chain which was stretched across it. 

Washington had projected two works also just below the 
Highlands, at Stony Point and Verplanck's Point, to serve 
as outworks of the mountain passes, and to protect King'* 

Cife of U/a8fyir?<$tor> 239 

Ferry, the most direct and convenient communication be- 
tween the Northern and Middle States. 

A small but strong fort had been erected on Verplanck's 
Point, and was garrisoned by seventy men under Captain 
Armstrong. A more important work was in progress at 
Stony Point. When completed, these two forts, on opposite 
promontories, would form as it were the lower gates of the 
Highlands; miniature Pillars of Hercules, of which Stony 
Point was the Gibraltar. 

To be at hand in case of any real attempt upon the High- 
lands, Washington drew up with his forces in that direction ; 
moving by the way of Morristown. 

An expedition up the Hudson was really the object of Sir 
Henry Clinton's movements, and for this he was strength- 
ened by the return of Sir George Collier with his marauding 
ships and forces from Virginia. On the 30th of May, Sir 
Henry set out on his second grand cruise up the Hudson, 
with an armament of about seventy sail, great and small, 
and one hundred and fifty flat boats. Admiral Sir George 
Collier commanded the armament, and there was a land 
force of about five thousand men under General Vaughan. 

The first aim of Sir Henry was to get possession of Stony 
and Verplanck's Points; his former expedition had ac- 
quainted him with the importance of this pass of the river. 
On the morning of the 31st, the forces were landed in two 
divisions, the largest under General Vaughan, on the east 
side of the river, about seven or eight miles below Ver- 
planck's Point ; the other, commanded by Sir Henry in per- 
son, landed in Haverstraw Bay, about three miles below 
Stony Point. There were about thirty men in the unfin- 
ished fort; they abandoned it on the approach of the enemy, 
and retreated into the Highlands, having first set fire to the 

240 U/orKs of U/a8l?ii}$toi) lruir)$ 

block-house. The British took quiet possession of the fort 
in the evening ; dragged up cannon and mortars in the night, 
and at daybreak opened a furious fire upon Fort Lafayette. 
It was cannonaded at the same time by the armed vessels, 
and a demonstration was made on it by the division under 
General Yaughan. Thus surrounded, the little garrison of 
seventy men was forced to surrender with no other stipula- 
tion than safety to their persons and to the property they 
had in the fort. Major Andre was aid -de-camp to Sir 
Henry, and signed the articles of capitulation. 

Sir Henry Clinton stationed garrisons in both posts, and 
set to work with great activity to complete the fortification 
of Stony Point. His troops remained for several days in 
two divisions on the opposite sides of the river; the fleet 
generally fell down a little below King's Ferry ; some of the 
square-rigged vessels, however, with others of a smaller size, 
and flat-bottomed boats, having troops on board, dropped 
down Haverstraw Bay, and finally disappeared behind the 
promontories which advance across the upper part of the 
Tappan Sea. 

Some of the movements of the enemy perplexed Wash- 
ington exceedingly. He presumed, however, that the main 
object of Sir Henry was to get possession of West Point, the 
guardian fortress of the river, and that the capture of Stony 
and Verplanck's Points were preparatory steps. He would 
fain have dislodged him from these posts, which cut off all 
communication by way of King's Ferry, but they were too 
strong; he had not the force nor military apparatus neces- 
sary. Deferring any attempt on them for the present, he 
took measures for the protection of West Point. Leaving 
General Putnam and the main body of the army at Smith's 
Clove, a mountain pass in the rear of Haverstraw, he re« 

Cife of U/a8l?in<$tOQ 241 

moved his headquarters to New "Windsor, to be near "West 
Point in case of need, and to press the completion of its 
works. General McDougall was transferred to the com- 
mand of the Point. Three brigades were stationed at dif- 
ferent places on the opposite side of the river, under General 
Heath, from which fatigue parties crossed daily to work on 
the fortifications. 

This strong disposition of the American forces checked 
Sir Henry's designs against the Highlands. Contenting 
himself, therefore, for the present, with the acquisition of 
Stony and Verplanck's Points, he returned to New York; 
where he soon set on foot a desolating expedition along the 
seaboard of Connecticut. That State, while it furnished 
the American armies with provisions and recruits, and in- 
fested the sea with privateers, had hitherto experienced noth- 
ing of the horrors of war within its borders. Sir Henry, in 
compliance with his instructions from government, was now 
about to give it a scourging lesson ; and he entertained the 
hope that, in so doing, he might draw down "Washington 
from his mountain fastnesses, and lay open the Hudson to 
a successful incursion. 

General (late Governor) Tryon was the officer selected by 
Sir Henry for this inglorious, but apparently congenial ser- 
vice. About the beginning of July he embarked with two 
thousand six hundred men, in a fleet of transports and ten- 
ders, and was convoyed up the Sound by Sir George Collier 
with two ships of war. 

On the 5th of July, the troops landed near New Haven, 
in two divisions, one led by Tryon, the other by Brigadier- 
general Garth, his lieutenant. They came upon the neigh- 
borhood by surprise; yet the militia assembled in haste, and 
made a resolute though ineffectual opposition. The British 

Vol. XIV.— »**11 

242 U/or^s of U/asfyir^tor) Iruip$ 

captured the town, dismantled the fort, and took or destroyed 
all the vessels in the harbor; with all the artillery, ammuni- 
tion, and public stores. Several private houses were plun- 
dered; but this, it was said, was done by the soldiery con- 
trary to orders. The enemy, in fact, claimed great credit 
for lenity in refraining from universal sackage, considering 
the opposition they had experienced while on the march, and 
that some of the inhabitants of the town had fired upon them 
from the windows. 

They next proceeded to Fairfield ; where, meeting with 
greater resistance, they thought the moment arrived for a 
wholesome example of severity. Accordingly, they not 
merely ravaged and destroyed the public stores and the 
vessels in the harbor, but laid the town itself in ashes. The 
exact return of this salutary lesson gives the destruction of 
ninety-seven dwelling-houses, sixty-seven barns and stables, 
forty-eight storehouses, three places of worship, a court- 
house, a jail, and two schoolhouses. 

The sight of their homes laid desolate, and their dwell- 
ings wrapped in flames, only served to exasperate the inhab- 
itants, and produce a more determined opposition to the prog- 
ress of the destroyers; whereupon the ruthless ravage of the 
latter increased as they advanced. 

At Nor walk, where they landed on the 11th of July, they 
burned one hundred and thirty dwelling-houses, eighty-seven 
barns, twenty-two storehouses, seventeen shops, four mills, 
two places of worship, and five vessels which were in the 
harbor. All this was private property, and the loss fell on 
individuals engaged in the ordinary occupations of life. 
These acts of devastation were accompanied by atrocities, 
inevitable where the brutal passions of the soldiery are 
aroused. They were unprovoked, too, by any unusual acts 

Cife of U/as^iQ^top 243 

of hostility, the militia having no time to assemble, except- 
ing in small parties for the defense of their homes and fire- 
sides. The loss of the British throughout the whole expedi- 
tion amounted, according to their own accounts, to twenty- 
killed, ninety-six wounded, and thirty-two missing. 

It was intended to crown this grand ravage by a descent 
on New London, a noted rendezvous of privateers; but as 
greater opposition was expected there than at either of the 
other places, the squadron returned to Huntington Bay, on 
Long Island, to await re-enforcements; and Commodore 
Collier proceeded to Throg's Neck, to confer with Sir Henry 
Clinton about further operations. 

In this conference Sir Henry was assured that the recent 
expedition was producing the most salutary effects; that the 
principal inhabitants were incensed at the apathy of Wash- 
ington in remaining encamped near the Hudson, while their 
country was ravaged and their homes laid in ashes; that 
they complained equally of Congress, and talked of with- 
drawing from it their allegiance, and making terms with 
the British commanders for themselves; finally, it was urged 
that the proposed expedition against New London would 
carry these salutary effects still further, and confirm the 
inhabitants in the sentiments they were beginning to express. 

Such were the delusive representations continually made 
to the British commanders in the course of this war; or 
rather, such were the delusions in which they themselves 
indulged, and which led them to the commission of acts cal- 
culated to rend still further asunder the kindred countries. 

Washington, however, was not culpable of the apathy 

ribed to him. On hearing of the departure of the expe- 
dition to the eastward, and before he Avas acquainted with 

definite object, he detached General Heath, with two 

*544 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top Iruir><$ 

brigades of Connecticut militia, to counteract the movements 
of the enemy. This was all that he could spare from the 
force stationed for the protection of the Highlands. Any 
weakening of his posts there might bring the enemy sud- 
denly upon him, such was their facility in moving from one 
place to another by means of their shipping. Indeed, he 
had divined that a scheme of the kind was at the bottom of 
the hostile movement to the eastward. 

As a kind of counter-check to Sir Henry, he had for some 
days been planning the recapture of Stony Point and Fort 
Lafayette. He had reconnoitered them in person ; spies had 
been thrown into them, and information collected from de- 
serters. Stony Point having been recently strengthened by 
the British was now the most important. It was a rocky 
promontory advancing far into the Hudson, which washed 
three sides of it. A deep morass, covered at high water, 
separated it from the mainland, but at low tide might be 
traversed by a narrow causeway and bridge. The promon- 
tory was crowned by strong works, furnished with heavy 
ordnance, commanding the morass and causeway. Lower 
down were two rows of abatis, and the shore at the foot of 
the hill could be swept by vessels of war anchored in the 
river. The garrison was about six hundred strong, com- 
manded by Lieutenant-colonel Johnston. 

To attempt the surprisal of this isolated post, thus strongly 
fortified, was a perilous enterprise. General Wayne, Mad 
Anthony as he was called from his daring valor, was the 
officer to whom "Washington proposed it, and he engaged in 
it with avidity.* According to Washington's plan, it was 

* It is a popular tradition that when Washington pro- 
posed to Wayne the storming of Stony Point the reply was, 
"General, I'll storm hell if you will onl} T plan it." 

Cife of U/asf?ii}<$toi7 245 

to be attempted by light-infantry only, at night, and with 
the utmost secrecy, securing every person they met to pre- 
vent discovery. Between one and two hundred chosen men 
and officers were to make the surprise ; preceded by a van- 
guard of prudent, determined men, well commanded, to re- 
move obstructions, secure sentries, and drive in the guards. 
The whole were to advance with fixed bayonets and unloaded 
muskets; all was to be done with the bayonet. These par- 
ties were to be followed by the main body, at a small dis- 
tance, to support and re-enforce them, or to bring them off 
in case of failure. All were to wear white cockades or 
feathers, and to have a watch-word, so as to be distin- 
guished from the enemy. "The usual time for exploits of 
this kind," observes Washington, "is a little before day, for 
which reason a vigilant officer is then more on the watch. I 
therefore recommend a midnight hour." 

On getting possession of Stony Point, "Wayne was to turn 
its guns upon Fort Lafayette and the shipping. A detach- 
ment was to march down from West Point by Peekskill, to 
the vicinity of Fort Lafayette, and hold itself ready to join 
in the attack upon it, as soon as the cannonade began from 
Stony Point. 

On the 15th of July, about midday, Wayne set out with 
his light-infantry from Sandy Beach, fourteen miles distant 
from Stony Point. The roads were rugged, across moun- 
tains, morasses and narrow defiles, in the skirts of the Dun- 
derberg, where frequently it was necessary to proceed in 
single file. About eight in the evening, they arrived within 
a mile and a half of the forts, without being discovered. 
Not a dog barked to give the alarm — all the dogs in the 
neighborhood had been privately destroyed beforehand. 
Bringing the men to a halt, Wayne and his principal 

246 U/orl^s of U/astyr^tor) Irvip<$ 

officers went nearer, and carefully reconnoitered the works 
and their environs, so as to proceed understanding^ and 
without confusion. Having made their observations they 
returned to the troops. Midnight, it will be recollected, 
was the time recommended by Washington for the attack. 
About half -past eleven the whole moved forward, guided 
by a negro of the neighborhood who had frequently carried 
in fruit to the garrison, and served the Americans as a spy. 
He led the way, accompanied by two stout men disguised as 
farmers. The countersign was given to the first sentinel, 
posted on high ground west of the morass. While the negro 
talked with him, the men seized and gagged him. The sen- 
tinel posted at the head of the causeway was served in the 
same manner; so that hitherto no alarm was given. The 
causeway, however, was overflowed, and it was some time 
after twelve o'clock before the troops could cross; leaving 
three hundred men under General Muhlenberg, on the west- 
ern side of the morass, as a reserve. 

At the foot of the promontory the troops were divided 
into two columns, for simultaneous attacks on opposite sides 
of the works. One hundred and fifty volunteers, led by 
Lieutenant-colonel Fleury, seconded by Major Posey, formed 
the vanguard of the right column. One hundred volunteers, 
under Major Stewart, the vanguard of the left. In advance 
of each was a forlorn hope of twenty men, one led by Lieu- 
tenant Gibbon, the other by Lieutenant Knox; it was their 
desperate duty to remove the abatis. So well had the whole 
affair been conducted that the Americans were close upon 
the outworks before they were discovered. There was then 
severe skirmishing at the pickets. The Americans used the 
bayonet; the others discharged their muskets. The reports 
roused the garrison. Stony Point was instantly in an up- 

Cife of U/asr;in<$tor; 247 

roar. The drums beat to arms ; every one hurried to hi3 
alarm post; the works were hastily manned, and a tremen- 
dous fire of grape-shot and musketry opened upon the 

The two columns forced their way with the bayonet, at 
opposite points, surmounting every obstacle. Colonel Fleury 
was the first to enter the fort and strike the British flag. 
Major Posey sprang to the ramparts and shouted, "The fort 
is our own." Wayne, who led the right column, received at 
the inner abatis a contusion on the head from a musket ball, 
and would have fallen to the ground, but his two aides-de- 
camp supported him. Thinking it was a death wound, 
"Carry me into the fort," said he, "and let me die at the 
head of my column." He was borne in between his aides, 
and soon recovered his self-possession. The two columns 
arrived nearly at the same time, and met in the center of the 
works. The garrison surrendered at discretion. 

At daybreak, as "Washington directed, the guns of the 
fort were turned on Fort Lafayette and the shipping. The 
latter cut their cables and dropped down the river. Through 
a series of blunders, the detachment from West Point, which 
was to have co-operated, did not arrive in time, and came 
unprovided with suitable ammunition for their battering 
artillery. This part of the enterprise, therefore, failed; 
Fort Lafayette held out. 

The storming of Stony Point stands out in high relief as 

one of the most brilliant achievements of the war. The 

Americans had effected it without firing a musket. On their 

rt it was the silent, deadly work of the bayonet; the fierce 

ince they met at the outset may be judged by the havoc 

made in their forlorn hope; out of twenty-two men, seventeen 

either killed or wounded. The whole loss of the Amer- 

xJ48 U/or^s of \JJas\)ir)QtOT) Irvipo; 

icans was fifteen killed and eighty-three wounded. Of the 
garrison, sixty-three were slain, including two officers; five 
hundred and fifty-three were taken prisoners, among whom 
were a lieutenant-colonel, four captains, and twenty-three 
subaltern officers. 

Wayne, in his dispatches, writes: "The humanity of our 
brave soldiery, who scorned to take the lives of a vanquished 
foe when calling for mercy, reflects the highest honor on 
them ; and accounts for the few of the enemy killed on the 
occasion.' ' His words reflect honor on himself. 

A British historian confirms his eulogy. "The conduct 
of the Americans upon this occasion was highly meritorious," 
writes he, "for they would have been fully justified in put- 
ting the garrison to the sword; not one man of which was 
put to death but in fair combat." * 

We are happy to record an instance of generous feeling 
on the part of General Charles Lee, in connection with Stony 
Point. When he heard of Wayne's achievement, he wrote 
to him as follows: 

"What I am going to say, you will not, I hope, con- 
sider as paying my court in this hour of your glory; for, 
as it is at least my present intention to leave this con- 
tinent, I can have no interest in paying my court to any 
individual. What I shall say, therefore, is dictated by the 
genuine feelings of my heart. I do most sincerely declare 
that your assault of Stony Point is not only the most bril- 
liant, in my opinion, throughout the whole course of the 
war on either side, but that it is the most brilliant I am 
acquainted with in history; the assault of Schweidnitz, 
by Marshal Laudon, I think inferior to it. I wish you, 

* Stedman, vol. i., p. 145. 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$t:or) 249 

therefore, most sincerely, joy of the laurels you have de- 
servedly acquired, and that you may long live to wear 

This is the more magnanimous on the part of Lee, as 
"Wayne had been the chief witness against him in the court- 
martial after the affair at Monmouth, greatly to his annoy- 
ance. While Stony Point, therefore, stands a lasting monu- 
ment of the daring courage of "Mad Anthony," let it call 
up the remembrance of this freak of generosity on the part 
of the eccentric Lee. 

Tidings of the capture of Stony Point, and the imminent 
danger of Fort Lafayette, reached Sir Henry Clinton just 
after his conference with Sir George Collier at Throg's Neck. 
The expedition against New London was instantly given up ; 
the transports and troops were recalled ; a forced march was 
made to Dobbs' Ferry, on the Hudson ; a detachment was 
sent up the river in transports to relieve Fort Lafayette, and 
Sir Henry followed with a greater force, hoping "Washington 
might quit his fastnesses and risk a battle for the possession 
of Stony Point. 

Again the Fabian policy of the American commander-in- 
chief disappointed the British general. Having well exam • 
ined the post, in company with an engineer and several 
general officers, he found that at least fifteen hundred men 
would be required to maintain it, a number not to be spared 
from the army at present. 

The works, too, were only calculated for defense on the 
land side, and were open toward the river, where the enemy- 
depended upon protection from their ships. It would be 
necessary to construct them anew, with great labor. The 
army, also, would have to be in the vicinity, too distant 
from West Point to aid in completing or defending its for- 

#50 U/orl^s of U/asfyir^tor; IruiQ^ 

tifications, and exposed to the risk of a general action on 
unfavorable terms. 

For these considerations, in which all his officers con- 
curred, Washington evacuated the post on the 18th, remov- 
ing the cannon and stores, and destroying the works; after 
which he drew his forces together in the Highlands, and 
established his quarters at West Point, not knowing but that 
Sir Henry might attempt a retaliatory stroke on that most 
important fortress. The latter took possession of Stony 
Point, and fortified and garrisoned it more strongly than 
ever, but was too wary to risk an attempt upon the strong- 
holds of the Highlands. Finding Washington was not to be 
tempted out of them, he ordered the transports to fall once 
more down the river, and returned to his former encamp- 
ment at Philipsburg. 


Expedition against Penobscot — Night Surprisal of Paulus Hook — 
Washington fortifies West Point— His Style of Living there — 
Table at Headquarters — Sir Henry Clinton re-enforced — Arrival 
of D'Estaing on the Coast of Georgia — Plans in consequence— 
f Tench Minister at Washington's Highland Camp — Letter to 
Lafayette — D'Estaing co-operates with Lincoln — Repulsed at 
Savannah — Washington re-enforces Lincoln— Goes into Winter 
Quarters — Sir Henry Clinton sends an Expedition to the South 

The brilliant affair of the storming of Stony Point was 
somewhat overshadowed by the result of an enterprise at the 
eastward, undertaken without consulting Washington. A 
British detachment from Halifax, of seven or eight hundred 
men, had founded in June a military post on the eastern side 

Cife of U/asfyiog^or; 251 

of the Bay of Penobscot, nine miles below the river of that 
name, and were erecting a fort there, intended to protect 
Nova Scotia, control the frontiers of Massachusetts, and 
command the vast wooded regions of Maine, whence inex- 
haustible supplies of timber might be procured for the royal 
shipyards at Halifax and elsewhere. 

The people of Boston, roused by this movement, which 
invaded their territory and touched their pride and interests, 
undertook, on their own responsibility, a naval and military 
expedition intended to drive off the invaders. All Boston 
was in a military bustle, enrolling militia and volunteers. 
An embargo of forty days was laid on the shipping, to 
facilitate the equipment of the naval armament; a squad- 
ron of armed ships and brigantines, under Commodore 
Saltonstall, at length put to sea, convoying transports on 
board of which were near four thousand land troops under 
General Lovel. 

Arriving in the Penobscot on the 25th of May, they found 
Colonel Maclean posted on a peninsula, steep and precipitous 
toward the bay and deeply trenched on the land side, with 
three ships of war anchored before it. 

Lovel was repulsed with some little loss in an attempt 
to effect a landing on the peninsula; but finally succeeded 
before daybreak on the 28th. The moment was propitious 
for a bold and vigorous blow : the fort was but half finished ; 
the guns were not mounted ; the three armed vessels could 
not have offered a formidable resistance ; but, unfortunately, 
the energy of a Wayne was wanting to the enterprise. Lovel 
proceeded by regular siege. He threw up works at seven 
hundred and fifty yards' distance, and opened a cannonade, 
which was continued from day to day for a fortnight. The 
enemy availed themselves of the delay to strengthen their 

252 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$ton \rv\T)Q 

works, in which they were aided by men from the ships. 
Distrustful of the efficiency of the militia and of their con- 
tinuance in camp, Lovel sent to Boston for a re-enforcement 
of Continental troops. He only awaited their arrival to 
carry the place by storm. A golden opportunity was lost 
by this excess of caution. It gave time for Admiral Collier, 
at New York, to hear of this enterprise, and take measures 
for its defeat. 

On the 13th of August, Lovel was astounded by intelli- 
gence that the admiral was arrived before the bay with a 
superior armament. Thus fairly entrapped, he endeavored 
to extricate his force with as little loss as possible. Before 
news of Collier's arrival could reach the fort, he re-embarked 
his troops in the transports to make their escape up the river. 
His armed vessels were drawn up in a crescent as if to give 
battle, but it was merely to hold the enemy in check. They 
soon gave way; some were captured, others were set on fire 
or blown up, and abandoned by their crews. The transports 
being eagerly pursued and in great danger of being taken, 
disgorged the troops and seamen on the wild shores of the 
river, whence they had to make the best of their way to 
Boston, struggling for upward of a hundred miles through 
a pathless wilderness before they reached the settled parts 
of the country, and several of them perishing through hunger 
and exhaustion. 

If Washington was chagrined by the signal failure of this 
expedition, undertaken without his advice, he was cheered 
by the better fortune of one set on foot about the same time, 
under his own eye, by his young friend, Major Henry Lee, 
of the Virginia dragoons. This active and daring officer had 
frequently been employed by him in scouring the country 
on the west side of the Hudson to collect information; keep 

Cife of \JJa&tyr)QtoT) 253 

an eye upon the enemy's posts; cutoff their supplies, and 
check their foraging parties. The coup de main at Stony 
Point had piqued his emulation. In his communications 
to headquarters he intimated that an opportunity presented 
for an exploit of almost equal daring. In the course of his 
reconnoitering, and by means of spies, he had discovered 
that the British post at Paulus Hook, immediately opposite 
New York, was very negligently guarded. Paulus Hook 
is a long low point of the Jersey shore, stretching into the 
Hudson, and connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus. 
A fort had been erected on it, and garrisoned with four or 
five hundred men, under the command of Major Sutherland. 
It was a strong position. A creek fordable only in two 
places rendered the hook difficult of access. Within this, 
a deep trench had been cut across the isthmus, traversed by 
a drawbridge with a barred gate; and still within this was a 
double row of abatis extending into the water. The whole 
position, with the country immediately adjacent, was sepa- 
rated from the rest of Jersey by the Hackensack River, run- 
ning parallel to the Hudson, at the distance of a very few 
miles, and only traversable in boats, excepting at the New 
Bridge, about fourteen miles from Paulus Hook. 

Confident in the strength of his position, and its distance 
from any American force, Major Sutherland had become 
remiss in his military precautions ; the want of vigilance in 
a commander soon produces carelessness in subalterns, and 
a general negligence prevailed in the garrison. 

All this had been ascertained by Major Lee, and he now 
proposed the daring project of surprising the fort at night, 
and thus striking an insulting blow "within cannon shot 
of New York." Washington was pleased with the project; 
he had a relish for signal enterprises of the kind ; he was 

254 U/or^s of U/as^ii^tor) Irv/iQ^ 

aware of their striking and salutary effect upon both friend 
and foe, and he was disposed to favor the adventurous 
schemes of this young officer. The chief danger in the 
present one would be in the evacuation and retreat after 
the blow had been effected, owing to the proximity of the 
enemy's force at Few York. In consenting to the enter- 
prise, therefore, he stipulated that Lee should not undertake 
it unless sure, from previous observation, that the post could 
be carried by instant surprise ; when carried, no time was 
to be lost in attempting to bring off cannon or any other 
articles, or in collecting stragglers of the garrison who might 
skulk and hide themselves. He was "to surprise the post, 
bring off the garrison immediately, and effect a retreat." 

On the 18th of August Lee set out on the expedition, at 
the head of three hundred men of Lord Stirling's division, 
and a troop of dismounted dragoons under Captain McLane. 
The attack was to be made that night. Lest the enemy 
should hear of their movement, it was given out that they 
were on a mere foraging excursion. The road they took lay 
along that belt of rocky and wooded heights which borders 
the Hudson, and forms a rugged neck between it and the 
Hackensack. Lord Stirling followed with five hundred 
men, and encamped at the New Bridge on that river, to be 
at hand to render aid if required. As it would be perilous 
to return along the rugged neck just mentioned, from the 
number of the enemy encamped along the Hudson, Lee, after 
striking the blow, was to push for Dow's Ferry on the Hack- 
ensack, not far from Paulus Hook, where boats would be 
waiting to receive him. 

It was between two and three in the morning when Lee 
arrived at the creek which rendered Paulus Hook difficult 
of access. It happened, fortunately, that Major Sutherland, 

Cife of WastyyqtOT) 255 

the British commander, had, the day before, detached a 
foraging party, under a Major Buskirk, to a part of the 
country called the English Neighborhood. As Lee and his 
men approached they were mistaken by the sentinel for this 
party on its return. The darkness of the night favored the 
mistake. They passed the creek and ditch, entered the works 
unmolested, and had made themselves masters of the post 
before the negligent garrison were well roused from sleep. 
Major Sutherland and about sixty Hessians threw themselves 
into a small blockhouse on the left of the fort and opened an 
irregular fire. To attempt to dislodge them would have cost 
too much time. Alarm guns from the ships in the river 
and the forts at New York threatened speedy re-enforce- 
ments to the enemy. Having made one hundred and fifty- 
nine prisoners, among whom were three officers, Lee com- 
menced his retreat, without tarrying to destroy either bar- 
racks or artillery. He had achieved his object — a coup de 
main of signal audachy. Few of the enemy were slain, for 
there was but little fighting, and no massacre. His own loss 
was two men killed and three wounded. 

His retreat was attended by perils and perplexities. 
Through blunder or misapprehension, the boats which he 
was to have found at Dow's Ferry on the Hackensack dis- 
appointed him ; and he had to make his way with his weary 
troops up the neck of land between that river and the Hud- 
sou, in imminent danger of being cut up by Buskirk and his 
scouting detachment. Fortunately Lord Stirling heard of 
his peril, and sent out a force to cover his retreat, which 
was effected in safety. Washington felt the value of this 
hardy and brilliant exploit. "The increase of confidence," 
said he, "which the army will derive from this affair and 
that of Stony Point, though great, will be among the least 

256 U/or^s of U/a8f?ir?<$tOD Iruipo; 

of the advantages resulting from these events." In a let- 
ter to the President of Congress he extolled the prudence, 
address, enterprise and bravery displayed on the occasion 
by Major Lee; in consequence of which the latter received 
the signal reward of a gold medal. 

Washington was now at West Point, diligently providing 
for the defense of the Highlands against any further attempts 
of the enemy. During the time that he made this his head- 
quarters, the most important works, we are told, were com- 
pleted, especially the fort at West Point, which formed the 
citadel of those mountains. 

Of his singularly isolated situation with respect to public 
affairs we have evidence in the following passage of a letter 
to Edmund Randolph, who had recently taken his seat in 
Congress. "I shall be happy in such communications as 
your leisure and other considerations will permit you to 
transmit to me, for I am as totally unacquainted with the 
political state of things, and what is going forward in the 
great national council, as if I was an alien ; when a compe- 
tent knowledge of the temper and designs of our allies, from 
time to time, and the frequent changes and complexion of 
affairs in Europe might, as they ought to do, have a consid- 
erable influence on the operations of our army, and would 
in many cases determine the propriety of measures, which, 
under a cloud of darkness, can only be groped at. I say 
this upon a presumption that Congress, either through their 
own ministers or that of France, must be acquainted in some 
degree with the plans of Great Britain, and the designs of 
France and Spain. If I mistake in this conjecture, it is to 
be lamented that they have not better information; or, if 
political motives render disclosures of this kind improper, 
I am content to remain in ignorance." 

Cife of U/as^ir^tor; 257 

Of the style of living at headquarters we have a picture 
in the following letter to Dr. John Cochran, the surgeon- 
general and physician of the army. It is almost the only 
instance of sportive writing in all Washington's correspond- 

"Dear Doctor — I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. 
Livingston to dine with me to-morrow; but am I not in 
honor bound to apprise them of their fare? As I hate decep- 
tion, even where the imagination only is concerned, I will. 
It is needless to premise that my table is large enough to 
hold the ladies. Of this they had ocular proof yesterday. 
To say how it is usually covered is more essential ; and this 
shall be the purport of my letter. 

4 'Since our arrival at this happy spot, we have had a 
ham, sometimes a shoulder of bacon, to grace the head 
of the table ; a piece of roast beef adorns the foot ; and a dish 
of beans or greens, almost imperceptible, decorates the center. 
When the cook has a mind to cut a figure, which I presume 
will be the case to-morrow, we have two beefsteak pies, or 
dishes of crabs, in addition, one on each side of the center 
dish, dividing the space, and reducing the distance between 
dish and dish to about six feet, which, without them, would 
be about twelve feet apart. Of late he has had the surpris- 
ing sagacity to discover that apples will make pies, and it is 
a question if, in the violence of his efforts, we do not get one 
of apples instead of having both of beefsteaks. If the ladies 
can put up with such entertainment, and will submit to par- 
take of it on plates once tin but now iron (not become so by 
the labor of scouring), I shall be happy to see them." 

We may add that, however poor the fare and poor the 
table equipage at headquarters, everything was conducted 

258 U/or^s of U/asl?ir>^tor> Iruii?$ 

with strict etiquette and decorum, and we make no doubt the 
ladies in question were handed in with as much courtesy to 
the bacon and greens and tin dishes, as though they were 
to be regaled with the daintiest viands, served up on enam- 
eled plate and porcelain. 

The arrival of Admiral Arbuthnot with a fleet, bringing 
three thousand troops and a supply of provisions and stores, 
strengthened the hands of Sir Henry Clinton. Still he had 
not sufficient force to warrant any further attempt up the 
Hudson; Washington, by his diligence in fortifying West 
Point, having rendered that fastness of the Highlands appar- 
ently impregnable. Sir Henry turned his thoughts, there- 
fore, toward the South, hoping, by a successful expedition 
in that direction, to counterbalance ill success in other quar- 
ters. As this would require large detachments, he threw 
up additional works on New York Island and at Brooklyn, to 
render his position secure with the diminished force that 
would remain with him. 

At this juncture news was received of the arrival of the 
Count D'Estaing, with a formidable fleet, on the coast of 
Georgia, having made a successful cruise in the West Indies, 
in the course of which he had taken St. Vincent's and Gra- 
nada. A combined attack upon New York was again talked 
of. In anticipation of it, Washington called upon several of 
the Middle States for supplies of all kinds, and re-enforce- 
ments of militia. Sir Henry Clinton, also, changed his 
plans; caused Rhode Island to be evacuated; the troops and 
stores to be brought away; the garrisons brought off from 
Stony and Verplanck's Points, and all his forces to be con- 
centrated at New York, which he endeavored to put in the 
strongest posture of defense. 

Intelligence recently received, too, that Spain had joined 

Cife of Was\)iT)$tOT) 259 

France in hostilities against England, contributed to increase 
the solicitude and perplexities of the enemy, while it gave 
fresh confidence to the Americans. 

The Chevalier de la Luzerne, minister from France, with 
Mons. Barbe Marbois, his secretary of legation, having re- 
cently landed at Boston, paid "Washington a visit at his moun- 
tain fortress, bringing letters of introduction from Lafayette. 
The chevalier not having yet announced himself to Congress 
did not choose to be received in his public character. "If 
he had," writes Washington, "except paying him military 
honors, it was not my intention to depart from that plain 
and simple manner of living, which accords with the real 
interest and policy of men struggling under every difficulty 
for the attainment of the most inestimable blessing of life, 

In conformity with this intention, he welcomed the chev- 
alier to the mountains with the thunder of artillery and 
received him at his fortress with military ceremonial; but 
very probably surprised him with the stern simplicity of his 
table, while he charmed him with the dignity and grace with 
which he presided at it. The embassador evidently acquitted 
himself with true French suavity and diplomatic tact. "He 
was polite enough," writes Washington, "to approve my 
principle, and condescended to appear pleased with our Spar- 
tan living. In a word, he made us all exceedingly happy by 
his affability and good humor while he remained in camp." 

The letters from Lafayette spoke of his favorable recep- 
tion at court, and his appointment to an honorable situation 
in the French army. "I had no doubt," writes Washing- 
ton, "that this would be the case. To hear it from yourself 
adds pleasure to the account. And here, my dear friend, 
M me congratulate you. None can do it with more warmth 

260 U/or^s of U/a8bir)<$tor) Iruir><$ 

of affection or sincere joy than myself. Your forward zeal 
in the cause of liberty; your singular attachment to this 
infant world; your ardent and persevering efforts, not only 
in America, but since your return to France, to serve the 
United States ; your polite attention to Americans, and your 
strict and uniform friendship for me, have ripened the first 
impressions of esteem and attachment which I imbibed for 
you into such perfect love and gratitude as neither time nor 
absence can impair. This will warrant my assuring you that, 
whether in the character of an officer at the head of a corps 
of gallant Frenchmen, if circumstance should require this, 
whether as a major-general commanding a division of the 
American army, or whether, after our swords and spears 
have given place to the plowshare and the pruning-hook, 
I see you as a private gentleman, a friend and companion, 
I shall welcome you with all the warmth of friendship to 
Columbia's shores; and, in the latter case, to my rural cot- 
tage, where homely fare and a cordial reception shall be 
substituted for delicacies and costly living. This, from past 
experience, I know you can submit to; and if the lovely 
partner of your happiness will consent to participate with us 
in such rural entertainment and amusements, 1 can under- 
take, on behalf of Mrs. Washington, that she will do every- 
thing in her power to make Virginia agreeable to the march- 
ioness. My inclination and endeavors to do this cannot be 
doubted, when I assure you that I love everybody that is 
dear to you, and consequently participate in the pleasure 
you feel in the prospect of again becoming a parent, and 
do most sincerely congratulate you and your lady on this 
fresh pledge she is about to give you of her love." 

Washington's anticipations of a combined operation with 
D'Estaing against New York were again disappointed. The 

Cife of U/asl?ii7<$t:oi) 261 

French admiral, on arriving on the coast of Georgia, had 
been persuaded to co-operate with the Southern army, under 
General Lincoln, in an attempt to recover Savannah, which 
had fallen into the hands of the British during the preceding 
year. For three weeks a siege was carried on with great 
vigor, by regular approaches on land, and cannonade and 
bombardment from the shipping. On the 9th of October, 
although the approaches were not complete, and no suffi- 
cient breach had been effected, Lincoln and D'Estaing, at 
the head of their choicest troops, advanced before daybreak 
to storm the works. The assault was gallant but unsuccess- 
ful ; both Americans and French had planted their standards 
on the redoubts, but were finally repulsed. After the re- 
pulse, both armies retired from before the place, the French 
having lost in killed and wounded upward of six hundred 
men, the Americans about four hundred. D'Estaing him- 
self was among the wounded, and the gallant Count Pulaski 
among the slain. The loss of the enemy was trifling, being 
protected by their works. 

The Americans recrossed the Savannah River into South 
Carolina; the militia returned to their homes, and the French 

The tidings of this reverse, which reached Washington 
late in November, put an end to all prospect of co-opera- 
tion from the French fleet; a consequent change took place 
in all his plans. The militia of New York and Massachu- 
setts, recently assembled, were disbanded, and arrangements 
were made for the winter. The army was thrown into twc 
divisions; one was to be stationed under General Heath in 
tho Highlands, for the protection of West Point and the 
iboring posts; tho other and principal division was to 
be hutted near Morristown, v. Washing-ton was to have 

262 U/orHs of U/a8F?ir>$tor> Irvir)<$ 

his headquarters. The cavalry were to be sent to Con- 

Understanding that Sir Henry Clinton was making prep- 
arations at New York for a large embarkation of troops, and 
fearing they might be destined against Georgia and Carolina, 
he resolved to detach the greater part of his Southern troops 
for the protection of those States; a provident resolution, in 
which he was confirmed by subsequent instructions from 
Congress. Accordingly, the North Carolina brigade took 
up its march for Charleston, in November, and the whole 
of the Virginia line in December. 

Notwithstanding the recent preparations at New York, 
the ships remained in port, and the enemy held themselves 
in collected force there. Doubts began to be entertained of 
some furtive design nearer at hand, and measures were taken 
to protect the army against an attack when in winter quar- 
ters. Sir Henry, however, was regulating his movements 
by those the French fleet might make after the repulse at 
Savannah. Intelligence at length arrived that it had been 
dispersed by a violent storm. Count D'Estaing, with a part, 
had shaped his course for France; the rest had proceeded to 
the West Indies. 

Sir Henry now lost no time in carrying his plans into 
operation. Leaving the garrison of New York under the 
command of Lieutenant-general Knyphausen, he embarked 
several thousand men on board of transports, to be convoyed 
by five ships of the line and several frigates, under Admiral 
Arbuthnot, and set sail on the 26th of December, accompa- 
nied by Lord Cornwallis, on an expedition intended for the 
capture of Charleston and the reduction of South Carolina. 

Cife of U/asl?in<$tor> 263 



Sufferings of the Army at Morristown— Rigorous Winter — Derange- 
ment of the Currency — Confusion in the Commissariat — Im- 
pressment of Supplies — Patriotic Conduct of the People of New 
Jersey — The Bay of New York frozen over — Lord Stirling's Ex- 
pedition against Staten Island— Knyphausen's Incursion into 
the Jerseys— Caldwell's Church at Elizabethtown burned— Char- 
acter of its Pastor — Foray into Westchester County — Burning of 
Young's House in the Valley of the Neperan 

The dreary encampment at Valley Forge had become 
proverbial for its hardships; yet they were scarcely more 
severe than those suffered by Washington's army during 
the present winter, while hutted among the heights of Morris- 
town. The winter set in early, and was uncommonly rig- 
orous. The transportation of supplies was obstructed; the 
magazines were exhausted, and the commissaries had neither 
money nor credit to enable them to replenish them. For 
weeks at a time the army was on half allowance; sometimes 
without meat, sometimes without bread, sometimes without 
both. There was a scarcity, too, of clothing and blankets, 
so that the poor soldiers were starving with cold as well as 

Washington wrote to President Reed of Pennsylvania, 
entreating aid and supplies from that State to keep his army 
from disbanding. "We have never," said he, "experienced 
a like extremity at any period of the war."* 

* Life of Reed, ii. 189. 

264 U/or^s of U/asfyir^toi) In/ir)<$ 

The year 1780 opened upon a famishing camp. "For a 
fortnight past," writes Washington, on the 8th of January, 
"the troops, both officers and men, have been almost perish- 
ing with want. Yet," adds he, feelingly, "they have borne 
their sufferings with a patience that merits the approbation, 
and ought to excite the sympathies, of their countrymen." 

The severest trials of the Revolution, in fact, were not in 
the field, where there were shouts to excite and laurels to be 
won, but in the squalid wretchedness of ill-provided camps, 
where there was nothing to cheer and everything to be en- 
dured. To suffer was the lot of the Revolutionary soldier. 

A rigorous w T inter had much to do with the actual dis- 
tresses of the army, but the root of the evil lay in the de- 
rangement of the currency. Congress had commenced the 
war without adequate funds and without the power of im- 
posing direct taxes. To meet pressing emergencies, it had 
emitted paper money, which, for a time, passed currently 
at par; but sank in value as further emissions succeeded, 
and that already in circulation remained unredeemed. The 
several States added to the evil by emitting paper in their 
separate capacities: thus the country gradually became 
flooded with a "Continental currency," as it was called; 
irredeemable, and of no intrinsic value. The consequence 
was a general derangement of trade and finance. The Con- 
tinental currency declined to such a degree that forty dollars 
in paper were equivalent to only one in specie. 

Congress attempted to put a stop to this depreciation, by 
making paper money a legal tender, at its nominal value, in 
the discharge of debts, however contracted. This opened 
the door to knavery, and added a new feature to the evil. 

The commissaries now found it difficult to purchase sup- 
plies for the immediate wants of the army, and impossible to 

Cife of U/asrpir^ton 265 

provide any stores in advance. They were left destitute of 
funds, and the public credit was prostrated by the accumu- 
lating debts suffered to remain uncanceled. The changes 
which had taken place in the commissary department added 
to this confusion. The commissary-general, instead of re- 
ceiving, as heretofore, a commission on expenditures, was to 
have a fixed salary in paper currency ; and his deputies were 
to be compensated in like manner, without the usual allow- 
ance of rations and forage. No competent agents could be 
procured on such terms; and the derangement produced 
throughout the department compelled Colonel Wadsworth, 
the able and upright commissary -general, to resign. 

In the present emergency Washington was reluctantly 
compelled, by the distresses of the army, to call upon the 
counties of the State for supplies of grain and cattle, propor- 
tioned to their respective abilities. These supplies were to 
be brought into the camp within a certain time; the grain 
to be measured and the cattle estimated by any two of the 
magistrates of the county in conjunction with the commis- 
sary, and certificates to be given by the latter, specifying 
the quantity of each and the terms of payment. 

Wherever a compliance with this call was refused, the 
articles required were to be impressed : it was a painful al- 
ternative, yet nothing else could save the army from disso- 
lution or starving. Washington charged his officers to act 
with as much tenderness as possible, graduating the exaction 
according to the stock of each individual, so that no family 

raid be deprived of what was necessary to its subsistence. 

14 ^Y~llile your measures are adapted to the emergency," writes 

he to Colonel Matthias Ogden, "and you consult what you 

owe to tl ice, I am persuaded von will not forget that, 

we are compelled by i -the property of citi- 

Vol. XIV.—** * 12 

266 U/orl^s of U/as^ir?($toi? Irulr;^ 

zens for the support of an army on which their safety de- 
pends, we should be careful to manifest that we have a rev- 
erence for their rights, and wish not to do anything which 
that necessity, and even their own good, do not absolutely 

To the honor of the magistrates and the people of J ersey , 
Washington testifies that his requisitions were punctually 
complied with, and in many counties exceeded. Too much 
praise, indeed, cannot be given to the people of this State 
for the patience with which most of them bore these exac- 
tions, and the patriotism with which many of them adminis- 
tered to the wants of their countrymen in arms. Exhausted 
as the State was by repeated drainings, yet, at one time, 
when deep snows cut off all distant supplies, Washington's 
army was wholly subsisted by it. "Provisions came in with 
hearty good will from the farmers in Mendham, Chatham, 
Hanover, and other rural places, together with stockings, 
shoes, coats, and blankets; while the women met together 
to knit and sew for the soldiery." * 

As the winter advanced the cold increased in severity. 
It was the most intense ever remembered in the country. 
The great bay of New York was frozen over. No supplies 
could come to the city by water. Provisions grew scanty ; 
«md there was such lack of firewood that old transports were 

* From manuscript notes by the Rev. Joseph F. Tuttle. 
This worthy clergyman gives many anecdotes illustrative of 
the active patriotism of the Jersey women. Anna Kitchel, 
wife of a farmer of Whippany, is repeatedly his theme of 
well -merited eulogium. Her potato bin, meal bag, and 
granary, writes he, had always some comfort for the patriot 
soldiers. When unable to billet them in her house, a huge 
kettle filled with meat and vegetables was hung over the 
fire, that they might not go away hungry. 

Cife of U/asr;iD<$toD 267 

broken up, and uninhabited wooden houses pulled down for 
fuel. The safety of the city was endangered. The ships of 
war, immovably ice-bound in its harbor, no longer gave it 
protection. The insular security of the place was at an end. 
An army with its heaviest artillery and baggage might cross 
the Hudson on the ice. The veteran Knyphausen began to 
apprehend an invasion, and took measures accordingly; the 
seamen of the ships and transports were landed and formed 
into companies, and the inhabitants of the city were em- 
bodied, officered and subjected to garrison duty. 

Washington was aware of the opportunity which offered 
itself for a signal coup de main, but was not in a condition 
to profit by it. His troops, hutted among the heights of 
Morristown, were half fed, half clothed, and inferior in 
number to the garrison of New York. He was destitute 
of funds necessary to fit them for the enterprise, and the 
quartermaster could not furnish means of transportation. 

Still, in the frozen condition of the bay and rivers, some 
minor blow might be attempted, sufficient to rouse and cheer 
the spirits of the people. With this view, having ascertained 
that the ice formed a bridge across the strait between the 
Jersey shore and Staten Island, he projected a descent 
upon the latter by Lord Stirling with twenty-five hun- 
dred men, to surprise and capture a British force of ten 
or twelve hundred. 

His lordship crossed on the night of the 14th of January, 
from De Hart's Point to the island. His approach was dis- 
covered; the troops took refuge in the works, which were 
lonely situated to be attacked; a channel remaining 
open through the ice across the bay, a boat was dispatched 

'"ow York for re-enforcemeo 

The projected surprise having thus proved a completo 

268 U/or^s of \Uaz\)\T)$tOT) Iruir;$ 

failure, and his own situation becoming hazardous, Lord 
Stirling recrossed to the Jersey shore with a number of pris- 
oners whom he had captured. He was pursued by a party 
of cavalry, which he repulsed, and effected a retreat to Eliza- 
bethtown. Some few stragglers fell into the hands of the 
enemy, and many of his men were severely frostbitten. 

By way of retort, Knyphausen, on the 25th of January, 
sent out two detachments to harass the American outposts. 
One crossed to Paulus Hook, and being joined by part of the 
garrison of that post, pushed on to Newark, surprised and 
captured a company stationed there, set fire to the academy, 
and returned without loss. 

The other detachment, consisting of one hundred dragoons 
and between three and four hundred infantry, under Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Buskirk, crossed from Staten Island to Trem- 
bly's Point, surprised the picket-guard at Elizabethtown, and 
captured two majors, two captains, and forty-two privates. 
This, likewise, was effected without loss. The disgraceful 
part of the expedition was the burning of the town house, 
a church, and a private residence, and the plundering of the 

The church destroyed was a Presbyterian place of wor- 
ship, and its pastor, the Rev. James Caldwell, had rendered 
himself an especial object of hostility to both Briton and 
tory. He was a zealous patriot; served as chaplain to those 
portions of the American army that successively occupied 
the Jerseys; and now officiated in that capacity in Colonel 
Elias Dayton's regiment, besides occasionally acting as com- 
missary. His church had at times served as hospital to the 
American soldiers, or shelter to the hastily assembled militia. 
Its bell was the tocsin of alarm ; from its pulpit he had many 
a time stirred up the patriotism of his countrymen by his 

Cife of \JJas\)\T)$tOT) 269 

ardent, eloquent, and pathetic appeals, laying beside him his 
pistols before he commenced. His popularity in the army, 
and among the Jersey people, was unbounded. He was 
termed by his friends a "rousing gospel preacher,' ' and by 
the enemy a "frantic priest" and a "rebel fire-brand." On 
the present occasion, his church was set on fire by a virulent 
tory of the neighborhood, who, as he saw it wrapped in 
flames, "regretted that the black-coated rebel, Caldwell, was 
not in his pulpit." We shall have occasion to speak of the 
fortunes of this pastor and his family hereafter. 

Another noted maraud during Knyphausen's military 
sway was in the lower part of Westchester County, in a 
hilly region lying between the British and American lines, 
which had been the scene of part of the past year's cam- 
paign. Being often foraged, its inhabitants had become 
belligerent in their habits and quick to retaliate on all 

In this region, about twenty miles from the British out- 
posts, and not far from White Plains, the Americans had 
established a post of three hundred men at a stone building 
commonly known as Young's house, from the name of its 
owner. It commanded a road which passed from north to 
south down along the narrow but fertile valley of the Saw- 
mill River, now known by its original Indian name of the 
Neperan. On this road the garrison of Young's house kept 
a vigilant eye, to intercept the convoys of cattle and provis- 
ions which had been collected or plundered by the enemy, 
and which passed down this valley toward New York. This 
post had long been an annoyance to the enemy, but its dis- 
tance from the British lines had hitherto saved it from 
attack. The country now was covered with snow; troops 
could be rapidly transported on sleighs; and it was del- 

270 U/or^s of lI/a8l?i9<$toi7 Iruip<$ 

mined that Young's house should be surprised, and this 
rebel nest broken up. 

On the evening of the second of February, an expedition 
set out for the purpose from King's Bridge, led by Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Norton, and consisting of four flank companies 
of guards, two companies of Hessians, and a party of 
yagers, all in sleighs; besides a body of yager cavalry, 
and a number of mounted Westchester refugees, with two 

The snow, being newly fallen, was deep; the sleighs 
broke their way through it with difficulty. The troops at 
length abandoned them and pushed forward on foot. The 
cannon were left behind for the same reason. It was a 
weary tramp ; the snow in many places was more than two 
feet deep, and they had to take by-ways and cross-roads to 
avoid the American patrols. 

The sun rose while they were yet seven miles from 
Young's house. To surprise the post was out of the ques- 
tion ; still they kept on. Before they could reach the house 
the country had taken the alarm, and the Westchester yeo- 
manry had armed themselves and were hastening to aid the 
garrison. The British light-infantry and grenadiers invested 
the mansion ; the cavalry posted themselves on a neighbor- 
ing eminence, to prevent retreat or re-enforcement, and the 
house was assailed. It made a brave resistance, and was 
aided by some of the yeomanry stationed in an adjacent 
orchard. The garrison, however, was overpowered; num- 
bers were killed, and ninety were taken prisoners. The 
house was sacked and set in flames; and thus, having 
broken up this stronghold of the country, the party hast- 
ened to effect a safe return to the lines with their prisoners, 
some of whom were so badly wounded that they had to be 

Cife of tt/asl?in<$t:or; 271 

left at different farmhouses on the road. The detachment 
reached King's Bridge by nine o'clock in the same evening, 
and boasted that, in this enterprise, they had sustained no 
other loss than two killed and twenty- three wounded. 

Of the prisoners many were doubtless farmers and farm- 
er's sons, who had turned out in defense of their homes, and 
were now to be transferred to the horrors of the jail and 
sugar-house in New York. We give this affair as a speci- 
men of the petite guerre carried on in the southern part of 
"Westchester County, the neutral ground, as it was called, 
but subjected from its vicinity to the city to be foraged by 
the royal forces and plundered and insulted by refugees 
and tories. No part of the Union was more harried and 
trampled down by friend and foe, during the Revolution, 
than this debatable region and the Jerseys. 


Arnold in Command of Philadelphia— Unpopular Measures — Ar- 
nold's Style of Living — His Schemes and Speculations — His 
Collisions with the Executive Council— His Land Project- 
Charges sent against him to Congress— His Address to the 
Public — Charges referred to a Court-martial — His Marriage — 
Verdict of the Court-martial — Arnold reprimanded — Obtains 
leave of absence from the Army 

The most irksome duty that Washington had to perform 
during this winter's encampment at Morristown regarded 
oral Arnold and his military government of Philadel- 
phia in 1778. To explain it requires a glance back to that 

W the time of entering upon this command, Arnold's ao 
• with government were yet unsettled; the committee 

272 Worlds of Wa%tyT)Qtor) Iruir>$ 

appointed by Congress, at his own request, to examine them, 
having considered some of his charges dubious and others 
exorbitant. "W ashington, however, still looked upon him 
with favor, and but a month previously had presented him 
with a pair of epaulets and a sword-knot, "as a testimony 
of his sincere regard and approbation." 

The command of Philadelphia, at this time, was a deli- 
cate and difficult one, and required to be exercised with ex- 
treme circumspection. The boundaries between the powers 
vested in the military commander, and those inherent in 
the State government, were ill defined. Disaffection to the 
American cause prevailed both among the permanent and 
casual residents, and required to be held in check with firm- 
ness but toleration. By a resolve of Congress, no goods, 
wares, or merchandise were to be removed, transferred, or 
sold, until the ownership of them could be ascertained by a 
joint committee of Congress and of the Council of Pennsyl- 
vania; any public stores belonging to the enemy were to be 
seized and converted to the use of the army. 

Washington, in his letter of instructions, left it to Ar- 
nold's discretion to adopt such measures as should appear to 
him most effectual and least offensive in executing this re- 
solve of Congress ; in which he was to be aided by an assist- 
ant quartermaster-general, subject to his directions. "You 
will take every prudent step in your power," writes "Wash- 
ington, "to preserve tranquillity and order in the city and 
give security to individuals of every class and description, 
restraining, as far as possible, till the restoration of civil 
government, every species of persecution, insult, or abuse, 
either from the soldiery to the inhabitants, or among each 

One of Arnold's first measures was to issue a proclama- 

Cife of U/asl?in<$tOD 2?6 

tion enforcing the resolve of Congress. In so doing, he was 
countenanced by leading personages of Philadelphia, and the 
proclamation was drafted by General Joseph Reed. The 
measure excited great dissatisfaction, and circumstances at- 
tending the enforcement of it gave rise to scandal. Former 
instances of a mercenary spirit made Arnold liable to sus- 
picions, and it was alleged that, while by the proclamation 
he shut up the stores and shops, so that even the officers of 
the army could not procure necessary articles of merchan- 
dise, he was privately making large purchases for his own 

His style of living gave point to this scandal. He occu- 
pied one of the finest houses in the city ; set up a splendid 
establishment ; had his carriage and four horses and a train 
of domestics; gave expensive entertainments, and indulged 
in a luxury and parade which were condemned as little be- 
fitting a republican general; especially one whose accounts 
with government were yet unsettled, and who had impu- 
tations of mercenary rapacity still hanging over him. 

Ostentatious prodigality, in fact, was Arnold's besetting 
sin. To cope with his overwhelming expenses he engaged 
in various speculations, more befitting the trafficking habits 
of his early life than his present elevated position. Nay, he 
availed himself of that position to aid his speculations, and 
sometimes made temporary use of the public moneys passing 
through his hands. In his impatience to be rich, he at one 
time thought of taking command of a privateer and making 
lucrative captures at sea. 

In the exercise of his military functions he had become 
involved in disputes with the president (Wharton) and execu- 
tive council of Pennsylvania, and by his conduct, which was 
deemed arbitrary and arrogant, had drawn upon himself the 

274 U/ori^s of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Irvir><$ 

hostility of that body, which became stern and unsparing 
censors of his conduct. 

He had not been many weeks in Philadelphia before he 
became attached to one of its reigning belles, Miss Margaret 
Shippen, daughter of Mr. Edward Shippen, in after years 
chief -justice of Pennsylvania. Her family were not' consid- 
ered well affected to the American cause; the young lady 
herself, during the occupation of the city by the enemy, had 
been a "toast" among the British officers, and selected as 
one of the beauties of the Mischianza. 

Arnold paid his addresses in an open and honorable style, 
first obtaining by letter the sanction of the father. Party 
feeling at that time ran high in Philadelphia on local sub- 
jects connected with the change of the State government. 
Arnold's connection with the Shippen family increased his 
disfavor with the president and executive council, who were 
whigs to a man; and it was sneeringly observed that "he 
had courted the loyalists from the start." 

General Joseph Reed, at that time one of the executive 
committee, observes in a letter to General Greene, "Will 
you not think it extraordinary that General Arnold made a 
public entertainment the night before last, of which not only 
common tory ladies, but the wives and daughters of persons 
proscribed by the State, and now with the enemy at New 
York, formed a very considerable number? The fact is lit- 
erally true." Regarded from a different point of view, this 
conduct might have been attributed to the courtesy of a gal- 
lant soldier, who scorned to carry the animosity of the field 
into the drawing-room; or to proscribe and persecute the 
wives and daughters of political exiles. 

In the beginning of December, General Reed became 
president of the executive council of Pennsylvania, and un- 

Cife of \JJazY)iT)Qtor) 275 

der his administration the ripening hostility to Arnold was 
brought to a crisis. Among the various schemes of the lat- 
ter for bettering his fortunes, and securing the means of liv- 
ing when the war should come to an end, was one for form- 
ing a settlement in the western part of the State of New 
York, to be composed, principally, of the officers and soldiers 
who had served under him. His scheme was approved by 
Mr. John Jay, the pure-minded patriot of New York, at 
that time President of Congress, and was sanctioned by the 
New York delegation. Provided with letters from them, 
Arnold left Philadelphia about the 1st of January (1779), 
and set out for Albany to obtain a grant of land for the 
purpose from the New York Legislature. 

Within a day or two after his departure his public con- 
duct was discussed in the executive council of Pennsyl- 
vania, and it was resolved unanimously that the course of 
his military command in the city had been in many cases 
oppressive, unworthy of his rank and station, and highly 
discouraging to the liberties and interests of America, and 
disrespectful to the supreme executive authority of the 

As he was an officer of the United States, the complaints 
and grievances of Pennsylvania were set forth by the execu- 
tive council in eight charges, and forwarded to Congress, 
accompanied by documents, and a letter from President 

Information of these facts, with a printed copy of the 
cnarges, reached Arnold at Washington's camp on the Rari- 
t;in, which he had visited on the way to Albany. His first 
solicitude was about the effect they might have upon M 
Shippen, to whom he was now engaged. In a letter, dated 
February 8th, he entreated her not to suffer these rude at- 

276 Worlds of U/asI?ir}$tor) Irvir;$ 

tacks on him to give her a moment's uneasiness — they could 
do him no injury. 

On the following day he issued an address to the public, 
recalling his faithful services of nearly four years, and in- 
veighing against the proceedings of the president and coun- 
cil; who, not content with injuring him in a cruel and un- 
precedented manner with Congress, had ordered copies of 
their charges to be printed and dispersed throughout the 
several States, for the purpose of prejudicing the public 
mind against him while the matter was yet in suspense. 
"Their conduct," writes he, " appears the more cruel and 
malicious, in making the charges after I had left the city, as 
my intention of leaving the city was known for five weeks 
before." This complaint, we must observe, was rebutted, 
on their part, by the assertion that, at the time of his de- 
parture, he knew of the accusation that was impending. 

In conclusion, Arnold informed the public that he had 
requested Congress to direct a court-martial to inquire into 
his conduct, and trusted his countrymen would suspend their 
judgment in the matter until he should have an opportunity 
of being heard. 

Public opinion was divided. His brilliant services spoke 
eloquently in hi 3 favor. His admirers repined that a fame 
won by such daring exploits on the field should be stifled 
down by cold calumnies in Philadelphia ; and many thought, 
dispassionately, that the State authorities had acted with 
excessive harshness toward a meritorious officer, in widely 
spreading their charges against him, and thus, in an un- 
precedented way, putting a public brand upon him. 

On the 16th of February, Arnold's appeal to Congress 
was referred to the committee which had under considera- 
tion the letter of President Reed and its accompanying docu- 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$top 277 

merits, and it was charged to make a report with all conven- 
ient dispatch. A motion was made to suspend Arnold from 
all command during the inquiry. To the credit of Congress 
it was negatived. 

Much contrariety of feeling prevailed on the subject in 
the committee of Congress and the executive council of Penn- 
sylvania, and the correspondence between those legislative 
bodies was occasionally tinctured with needless acrimony. 

Arnold, in the course of January, had obtained permis- 
sion from "Washington to resign the command of Phila- 
delphia, but deferred to act upon it until the charges against 
him should be examined, lest, as he said, his enemies should 
misinterpret his motives and ascribe his resignation to fear 
of a disgraceful suspension in consequence of those charges. 

About the middle of March, the committee brought in a 
report exculpating him from all criminality in the matters 
charged against him. As soon as the report was brought 
in, he considered his name vindicated, and resigned. 

Whatever exultation he may have felt was shortlived. 
Congress did not call up and act upon the report, as, in jus- 
tice to him, they should have done, whether to sanction it or 
not; but referred the subject anew to a joint committee of 
their body and the assembly and council of Pennsylvania. 
Arnold was, at this time, on the eve of marriage with Miss 
Shippen, and, thus circumstanced, it must have been pe- 
culiarly galling to his pride to be kept under the odium 
of imputed delinquencies. 

The report of the joint committee brought up animated 
discussions in Congress. Several resolutions recommended 
by the committee were merely of a formal nature and in- 
tended to soothe the wounded sensibilities of Pennsylvania; 
these were passed without dissent ; but it was contended that 

278 Worlds of U7a8r;in<$tOD Iruir)$ 

certain charges advanced by the executive council of that 
l^ate were only cognizable by a court-martial, and, after a 
warm debate, it was resolved (April 3d), by a large major- 
ity, that the commander-in-chief should appoint such a court 
for the consideration of them. 

Arnold inveighed bitterly against the injustice of subject- 
ing him to a trial before a military tribunal for alleged of- 
fenses of which he had been acquitted by the committee of 
Congress. He was sacrificed, he said, to avoid a breach 
with Pennsylvania. In a letter to Washington, he charged 
it all to the hostility of President Reed, who, he affirmed, 
had by his address kept the affair in suspense for two 
months, and at last obtained the resolution of Congress di- 
recting the court-martial. He urged Washington to appoint 
a speedy day for the trial, that he might not linger under the 
odium of an unjust public accusation. "I have no doubt of 
obtaining justice from a court-martial," writes he, "as every 
officer in the army must feel himself injured by the cruel 
and unprecedented treatment I have met with. . . . When 
your Excellency considers my sufferings, and the cruel situa- 
tion T am in, your own humanity and feeling as a soldier 
will render everything I can say further on the subject un- 

It was doubtless soothing to his irritated pride that the 
woman on whom he had placed his affections remained true 
to him; for his marriage with Miss Shippen took place just 
five days after the mortifying vote of Congress. 

Washington sympathized with Arnold's impatience, and 
appointed the 1st of May for the trial, but it was repeatedly 
postponed ; first, at the request of the Pennsylvania council, 
to allow time for the arrival of witnesses from the South; 
afterward in consequence of threatening movements of the 

Cife of WaaftvQtoT) 279 

enemy, which obliged every officer to be at his post. Ar- 
nold, in the meantime, continued to reside at Philadelphia, 
holding his commission in the army, but filling no public 
office ; getting deeper and deeper in debt, and becoming more 
and more unpopular. 

Having once been attacked in the street in the course 
of some popular tumult, he affected to consider his life in 
danger, and applied to Congress for a guard of Continen- 
tal soldiers, "as no protection was to be expected from the 
authority of the State for an honest man." 

He was told, in reply, that his application ought to have 
been made to the executive authority of Pennsylvania; "in 
whose disposition to protect every honest citizen Congress 
had full confidence, and highly disapproved the insinua- 
tion of every individual to the contrary." 

For months Arnold remained in this anxious and irri- 
tated state. His situation, he said, was cruel. His char- 
acter would continue to suffer until he should be acquitted 
by a court-martial, and he would be effectually prevented 
from joining the army, which he wished to do as soon as his 
wounds would permit, that he might render the country 
every service in his power in this critical time. "For though 
I have been ungratefully treated," adds he, "I do not con- 
sider it as from my countrymen in general, but from a set of 
men, who, void of principle, are governed entirely by private 

At length, when the campaign was over, and the army 
had gone into winter quarters, the long-delayed court-mar- 
tial was assembled at Morristown. Of the eight charges 
originally advanced against Arnold by the Pennsylvania 
council, four only came under the cognizance of the 

280 U/or^8 of U/asl?in<$top Irulr?^ 

Of two of these he was entirely acquitted. The remain* 
ing two were — 

First. That while in the camp at Valley Forge, he, 
without the knowledge of the commander-in-chief, or the 
sanction of the State government, had granted a written 
permission for a vessel belonging to disaffected persons to 
proceed from the port of Philadelphia, then in possession 
of the enemy, to any port of the United States. 

Second. That, availing himself of his official authority, 
he had appropriated the public wagons of Pennsylvania, 
when called forth on a special emergency, to the transporta- 
tion of private property and that of persons who voluntarily 
remained with the enemy, and were deemed disaffected to 
the interests and independence of America. 

In regard to the first of these charges, Arnold alleged 
that the person who applied for the protection of the vessel 
had taken the oath of allegiance to the State of Pennsyl- 
vania required by the laws; that he was not residing in 
Philadelphia at the time, but had applied on behalf of him- 
self and a company, and that the intentions of that person 
and his associates with regard to the vessel and cargo ap- 
peared to be upright. 

As to his having granted the permission without the 
knowledge of the commander-in-chief, though present in the 
camp, Arnold alleged that it was customary in the army for 
general officers to grant passes and protections to inhabitants 
of the United States friendly to the same, and that the pro- 
tection was given in the present instance to prevent the sol- 
diery from plundering the vessel and cargo, coming from a 
place in the possession of the enemy, until the proper author- 
ity could take cognizance of the matter. 

In regard to the second charge, while it was proved that 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 28l 

under his authority public wagons had been so used, it was 
allowed, in extenuation, that they had been employed at pri- 
vate expense, and without any design to defraud the public 
or impede the military service. 

In regard to both charges, nothing fraudulent on the part 
of Arnold was proved, but the transactions involved in the 
first were pronounced irregular, and contrary to one of 
the articles of war; and in the second, imprudent and repre- 
hensible, considering the high station occupied by the general 
at the time, and the court sentenced him to be reprimanded 
by the commander-in-chief. The sentence was confirmed 
by Congress on the 12th of February (1780). 

"We have forborne to go into all the particulars of this 
trial, but we have considered them attentively, discharging 
from our minds, as much as possible, all impressions pro- 
duced by Arnold's subsequent history, and we are surprised 
to find, after the hostility manifested against him by the 
council of Pennsylvania, and their extraordinary measure 
to possess the public mind against him, how venial are the 
trespasses of which he stood convicted. 

He may have given personal offense by his assuming 
vanity; by the arrogant exercise of his military authority; 
he may have displeased by his ostentation, and awakened 
distrust by his speculating propensities; but as yet his pa- 
triotism was unquestioned. No turpitude had been proved 
against him ; his brilliant exploits shed a splendor round his 
name, and he appeared before the public, a soldier crippled 
in their service. All these should have pleaded in his favor, 
should have produced indulgence of his errors, and mitigated 
that animosity which he always contended had been the 
cause of his ruin. 

The reprimand adjudged by the court-martial was ad- 

282 U/orl{8 of U/a8l?iQ$t09 Iruip^ 

ministered by "Washington with consummate delicacy. The 
following were his words, as repeated by M. de Marbois, 
the French secretary of legation : 

4 'Our profession is the chastest of all— even the shadow of 
a fault tarnishes the luster of our finest achievements. The 
least inadvertence may rob us of the public favor, so hard 
to be acquired. I reprehend you for having forgotten that, 
in proportion as you had rendered yourself formidable to 
your enemies, you should have been guarded and temperate 
in your deportment toward your fellow-citizens. 

"Exhibit anew those noble qualities which have placed 
you on the list of our most valued commanders. I will my- 
self furnish you, as far as it may be in my power, with 
opportunities of regaining the esteem of your country." 

A reprimand so mild and considerate, accompanied by 
such high eulogiums and generous promises, might have 
had a favorable effect upon Arnold, had he been in a differ- 
ent frame of mind ; but he had persuaded himself that the 
court would incline in his favor and acquit him altogether; 
and he resented deeply a sentence which he protested against 
as unmerited. His resentment was aggravated by delays 
in the settlement of his accounts, as he depended upon the 
sums he claimed as due to him for the payment of debts 
by which he was harassed. In following the matter up 
he became a weary and probably irritable applicant at the 
halls of Congress, and, we are told, gave great offense 
to members by his importunity, while he wore out the 
patience of his friends; but public bodies are prone to be 
offended by the importunity of baffled claimants, and the 
patience of friends is seldom proof against the reiterated 
story of a man's prolonged difficulties. 

In the month of March we find him intent on a new and 

Cife of U/a8f?ii)<$top 283 

adventurous project. He had proposed to the Board of 
Admiralty an expedition, requiring several ships of war and 
three or four hundred land troops, offering to take command 
of it should it be carried into effect, as his wounds still dis- 
abled him from duty on land. Washington, who knew his 
abilities in either service, was disposed to favor his proposi- 
tion, but the scheme fell through from the impossibility of 
sparing the requisite number of men from the army. What 
Arnold's ultimate designs might have been in seeking such 
a command are rendered problematical by his subsequent 
conduct. On the failure of the project, he requested and 
obtained from Washington leave of absence from the army 
for the summer, there being, he said, little prospect of an 
active campaign, and his wounds unfitting him for the field. 


South Carolina threatened — Its Condition and Population — Stormy 
Voyage of Sir Henry Clinton — Loss of Horses — Character of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton — Fleet arrives at Tybee — Sir Henry 
Clinton advances upon Charleston — Lincoln prepares for De- 
fense — Commodore Whipple — Governor Rutledge — Forebodings 
of Washington — Embarkation of British Troops at New York — 
Washington sends De Kalb with Re-enforcements — His Hopeful 
Letter to Steuben 

The return of spring brought little alleviation to the 
sufferings of the army at Morristown. All means of supply- 
ing its wants or recruiting its ranks were paralyzed by the 
continued depreciation of the currency. While "Washington 
saw his forces gradually diminishing, his solicitude was 
intensely excited for the safety of the Southern States. The 
reader will recall the departure from New York, in the 

284 U/or^s of ll/as^ir^tor) IruiQ$ 

latter part of December, of the fleet of Admiral Arbuthnot 
with the army of Sir Henry Clinton, destined for the subju- 
gation of South Carolina. "The richness of the country," 
says Colonel Tarleton, in his history of "the campaign, "its 
vicinity to Georgia, and its distance from General Washings 
ton, pointed out the advantage and facility of its conquest. 
While it would be an unspeakable loss to the Americans, 
the possession of it would tend to secure to the crown the 
southern part of the continent which stretches beyond it." 
It was presumed that the subjugation of it would be an easy 
task. The population was scanty for the extent of the 
country, and was made up of emigrants, or the descendants 
of emigrants, from various lands and of various nations — 
Huguenots, who had emigrated from France after the rev- 
ocation of the edict of Nantes; Germans, from the Palati- 
nate ; Irish Protestants, who had received grants of land from 
the crown; Scotch Highlanders, transported hither after the 
disastrous battle of Culloden ; Dutch colonists, who had left 
New York after its submission to England, and been settled 
here on bounty lands. 

Some of these foreign elements might be hostile to British 
domination, but others would be favorable. There was a 
large class, too, that had been born or had passed much of 
their lives in England, who retained for it a filial affection, 
spoke of it as home, and sent their children tc be educated 

The number of slaves within the province and of savages 
on its western frontier, together with its wide extent of un- 
protected seacoast, were encouragements to an invasion by 
sea and land. Little combination of militia and yeomanry 
need be apprehended from a population sparsely scattered, 
and where the settlements were widely separated by swampe 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 285 

and forests. Washington was in no condition to render 
prompt and effectual relief, his army being at a vast dis- 
tance, and considered as "in a great measure broken up." 
The British, on the contrary, had the advantage of their 
naval force, "there being nothing then in the American seas 
which could even venture to look at it." * 

Such were some of the considerations which prompted 
the enemy to this expedition ; and which gave Washington 
great anxiety concerning it. 

General Lincoln was in command at Charleston, but 
uncertain as yet of the designs of the enemy, and at a loss 
what course to pursue< Diffident of himself, and accustomed 
to defer to the wisdom of Washington, he turns to him in 
his present perplexity. "It is among my misfortunes," 
writes he, modestly (Jan. 23), "that I am not near enough 
to your Excellency to have the advantage of your advice 
and direction. I feel my own insufficiency and want of 
experience. I can promise you nothing but a disposition 
to serve my country. If this town should be attacked, as 
now threatened, I know my duty will call me to defend 
it, as long as opposition can be of any avail. I hope my 
inclination will coincide with my duty." 

The voyage of Sir Henry Clinton proved long and tem- 
pestuous. The ships were dispersed. Several fell into the 
hands of the Americans. One ordnance vessel foundered. 
Most of the artillery horses, and all those of the cavalry 
perished. The scattered ships rejoined each other, about the 
end of January, at Tybee Bay on Savannah River; where 
those that had sustained damage were repaired as speedily 
as possible The loss of the cavalry horses was especially 

Annual Register, 1780, p. 217. 

28G U/orKs of U/asI?ii>^toi7 Irvjii}^ 

felt by Sir Henry. There was a corps of two hundred and 
fifty dragoons, on which he depended greatly in the kind 
of guerrilla warfare he was likely to pursue, in a country 
of forests and morasses. Lieutenant-colonel Banastre Tarle- 
ton, who commanded them, was one of those dogs of war, 
which Sir Henry was prepared to let slip on emergencies to 
scour and maraud the country. This "bold dragoon," so 
noted in Southern warfare, was about twenty-six years of 
age, of a swarthy complexion, with small, black, piercing 
eyes. He is described as being rather below the middle 
size, square built, and strong, "with large muscular legs." 
It will be found that he was a first-rate partisan officer, 
prompt, ardent, active, but somewhat unscrupulous. 

Landing from the fleet, perfectly dismounted, he repaired 
with his dragoons, in some of the quartermaster's boats, 
to Port Royal Island, on the seaboard of South Carolina, 
"to collect at that place, from friends or enemies, by money 
or by force, all the horses belonging to the islands in the 
neighborhood." He succeeded in procuring horses, though 
of an inferior quality to those he had lost, but consoled him- 
self with the persuasion that he would secure better ones in 
the course of the campaign, by "exertion and enterprise" 
— a vague phrase, but very significant in the partisan vo- 

In the meantime, the transports, having on board a great 
part of the army, sailed under convoy, on the 10th of Febru- 
ary, from Savannah to North Edisto Sound, where the troops 
disembarked on the 11th, on St. John's Island, about thirty 
miles below Charleston. Thence, Sir Henry Clinton set out 
for the banks of Ashley River, opposite to the city, while 
a part of the fleet proceeded round by sea, for the purpose 
of blockading the harbor. The advance of Sir Henry was 

Cife of U/asr;ir;<$ton 287 

slow and cautious. Much time was consumed by him in 
fortifying intermediate ports, to keep up a secure communi- 
cation with the fleet. He ordered from Savannah all the 
troops that could be spared, and wrote to Knyphausen, at 
New York, for re-enforcements from that place. Every 
precaution was taken by him to insure against a second 
repulse from before Charleston, which might prove fatal 
to his military reputation. 

General Lincoln took advantage of this slowness on the 
part of his assailant to extend and strengthen the works. 
Charleston stands at the end of an isthmus formed by the 
Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Beyond the main works on 
the land side he cut a canal, from one to the other of the 
swamps which border these rivers. In advance of the canal 
were two rows of abatis and a double picketed ditch. Within 
the canal, and between it and the main works, were strong 
redoubts and batteries, to open a flanking fire on any ap- 
proaching column, while an inclosed hornwork of masonry 
formed a kind of citadel. 

A squadron, commanded by Commodore "Whipple, and 
composed of nine vessels of war of various sizes, the largest 
mounting forty-four guns, was to co-operate with Forts 
Moultrie and Johnston, and the various batteries, in the 
defense of the harbor. They were to lie before the bar so 
as to command the entrance of it. Great reliance also was 
placed on the bar itself, which it was thought no ship-of-the- 
line could pass. 

Governor Rutledge, a man eminent for talents, patriot 
ism, firmness and decision, was clothed with dictatorial 
powers during the present crisis ; he had calk v. out the militia 
of the State, and it was supposed they would duly obey the 
call Large re-enforcements of troops also were expected 

288 U/orks of U/asl?ir)$tor) Irui^ 

from the North. Under all these circumstances, General 
Lincoln yielded to the entreaties of the inhabitants, and, 
instead of remaining with his army in the open country, a» 
he had intended, shut himself up with them in the place for 
its defense, leaving merely his cavalry and two hundred 
light troops outside, who were to hover about the enemy 
and prevent small parties from marauding. 

It was not until the 1 2th of March that Sir Henry Clin- 
ton effected his tardy approach, and took up a position 
on Charleston Keck, a few miles above the town. Admiral 
Arbuthnot soon showed an intention of introducing his ships 
into the harbor, barricading their waists, anchoring them 
in a situation where they might take advantage of the first 
favorable spring tide, and fixing buoys on the bar for their 
guidance. Commodore "Whipple had by this time ascertained 
by sounding that a wrong idea had prevailed of the depth 
of water in the harbor, and that his ships could not anchor 
nearer than within three miles of the bar, so that it would 
be impossible for him to defend the passage of it. He quitted 
his station within it, therefore, after having destroyed a part 
of the enemy's buoys, and took a position where his ships 
might be abreast, and form a cross-fire with the batteries of 
Fort Moultrie, where Colonel Pinckney commanded. 

Washington was informed of these facts by letters from 
his former aid-de-camp, Colonel Laurens, who was in Charles- 
ton at the time. The information caused anxious forebod- 
ings. "The impracticability of defending the bar, I fear, 
amounts to the loss of the town and garrison," writes he in 
reply. "It really appears to me that the propriety of at- 
tempting to dv-;end the town depended on the probability 
of defending the bar, and that when this ceased the attempt 
ought to have been relinquished." The same opinion was 

Cife of U/a8bi0<$toi) 289 

expressed by him in a letter to Baron Steuben; "but at this 
distance/ ' adds he considerately, "we can form a very im- 
perfect judgment of its propriety or necessity. I have the 
greatest reliance in General Lincoln's prudence, but I cannot 
forbear dreading the event. : : 

His solicitude for the safety of the South was increased 
by hearing of the embarkation at New York of two thousand 
five hundred British and Hessian troops, under Lord Raw- 
don, re-enforcements for Sir Henry Clinton. It seemed 
evident the enemy intended to push their operations with 
vigor at the South; perhaps, to make it the principal theater 
of the war. "We are now beginning," said "Washington, 
"to experience the fatal consequences of the policy which 
delayed calling upon the States for their quotas of men in 
time to arrange and prepare them for the duties of the field. 
What to do for the Southern States, without involving con- 
sequences equally alarming in this quarter, I know not." 

Gladly would he have hastened to the South in person, 
but at this moment his utmost vigilance was required to keep 
watch upon New York and maintain the security of the 
Hudson, the vital part of the confederacy. The weak state 
of the American means of warfare in both quarters presented 
a choice of difficulties. The South needed support. Could 
the North give it without exposing itself to ruin, since the 
enem}', by means of their ships, could suddenly unite their 
forces, and fall upon any point that they might consider 
weak? Such were the perplexities to which he was contin- 
ually subjected, in having, with scanty means, to provide 
for the security of a vast extent of country, and with land 
forces merely, to contend with an amphibious enemy. 

"Congress will better conceive in how delicate a situation 
we stand," writes he, "when I inform them, that the whole 

Vol. XIV.— •**13 

290 U/or^s of U/asfyip^top Irvino; 

operating force present on this and the other side of the 
North River amounts only to ten thousand four hundred 
rank and file, of which about two thousand eight hundred 
will have completed their term of service by the last of May ; 
while the enemy's regular force at New York and its de- 
pendencies must amount, upon a moderate calculation, to 
about eleven thousand rank and file. Our situation is more 
critical from the impossibility of concentrating our force, 
as well for the want of the means of taking the field, as on 
account of the early period of the season." * 

Looking, however, as usual, to the good of the whole 
Union, he determined to leave something at hazard in the 
Middle States, where the country was internally so strong, 
and yield further succor to the Southern States, which had 
not equal military advantages. With the consent of Con- 
gress, therefore, he put the Maryland line under marching 
orders, together with the Delaware regiment, which acted 
with it, and the first regiment of artillery. 

The Baron de Kalb, now at the head of the Maryland 
division, was instructed to conduct this detachment with all 
haste to the aid of General Lincoln. He might not arrive 
in time to prevent the fall of Charleston, but he might assist 
to arrest the progress of the enemy and save the Carolinas. 

Washington had been put upon his guard of late against 
intrigues, forming by members of the old Conway cabal, 
who intended to take advantage of every military disaster 
to destroy confidence in him. His steady mind, however, 
was not to be shaken by suspicion. " Against intrigues of 
this kind, incident to every man of a public station," said 
he, "his best support will be a faithful discharge of his 

* Letter to the President, April 2d. 

Orwyrhc^f #^ ^Jc^ 


Irving, Vol. Fourteen, p. 305. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$toi? 291 

duty, and he must rely on the justice of his country for 
the event." 

His feelings at the present juncture are admirably ex- 
pressed in a letter to the Baron de Steuben. "The prospect, 
my dear baron, is gloomy, and the storm threatens, but I 
hope we shall extricate ourselves, and bring everything to 
a prosperous issue. I have been so inured to difficulties, in 
the course of this contest, that I have learned to look upon 
them with more tranquillity than formerly. Those which 
now present themselves no doubt require vigorous exertions 
to overcome them, and I am far from despairing of 
doing it." * 


Evils of the Continental Currency — Military Reforms proposed by 
Washington — Congress Jealous of Military Power — Committee 
of Three sent to Confer with Washington — Losses by Deprecia- 
tion of the Currency to be made good to the Troops — Arrival of 
Lafayette — Scheme for a Combined Attack upon New York — 
Arnold has Debts and Difficulties — His Proposals to the French 
Minister — Anxious to return to the Army — Mutiny of the Con- 
necticut Troops — Washington writes to Reed for Aid from Penn- 
sylvania—Good Effects of his Letter 

We have cited the depreciation of the currency as a main 
cause of the difficulties and distresses of the army. The 
troops were paid in paper money at its nominal value. A 
memorial of the officers of the Jersey line to the Legislature 
of their State represented the depreciation to be so great that 
four months' pay of a private soldier would not procure for 

* Washington's Writings, vii. 10. 

292 U/orl^s of Wa&tyfyQtOT) Iruip$ 

his family a single bushel of wheat, the pay of a colonel 
would not purchase oats for his horse, and a common laborer 
or express rider could earn four times the pay in paper of an 
American officer. 

Congress, too, in its exigencies, being destitute of the 
power of levying taxes, which vested in the State govern- 
ments, devolved upon those governments, in their separate 
capacities, the business of supporting the army. This pro- 
duced a great inequality in the condition of the troops; 
according to the means and the degree of liberality of their 
respective States. Some States furnished their troops amply, 
not only with clothing, but with many comforts and con- 
veniences; others were more contracted in their supplies; 
while others left their troops almost destitute. Some of the 
States, too, undertook to make good to their troops the loss 
in their pay caused by the depreciation of the currency. As 
this was not general, it increased the inequality of condition. 
Those who fared worse than others were incensed not only 
against their own State, but against the confederacy. They 
were disgusted with a service that made such injurious dis- 
tinctions. Some of the officers resigned, finding it impossible, 
under actual circumstances, to maintain an appearance suit- 
able to their rank. The men had not this resource. They 
murmured and showed a tendency to seditious combina- 

These, and other defects in the military system, were 

pressed by Washington upon the attention of Congress in a 
letter to the president: "It were devoutly to be wished," 
observed he, "that a plan could be devised by which every- 
thing relating to the army could be conducted on a general 
principle, under the direction of Congress. This alone can 
give harmony and consistency to our military establishment, 

Cife of U/a8i?ir)<$toi) 293 

and I am persuaded it will be infinitely conducive to public 
economy." * 

In consequence of this letter it was proposed in Congress 
to send a committee of three of its members to headquarters 
to consult with the commander-in-chief, and, in conjunction 
with him, to effect such reforms and changes in the various 
departments of the army as might be deemed necessary. 
Warrn debates ensued. It was objected that this would put 
too much power into a few hands, and especially into those 
of the commander-in-chief; "that his influence was already 
too great; that even his virtues afforded motives for 
alarm; that the enthusiasm of the army, joined to the 
kind of dictatorship already confided to him, put Con- 
gress and the United States at his mercy; that it was not 
expedient to expose a man of the highest virtues to such 
temptations,'''' \ 

The foregoing passage, from a dispatch of the French 
minister to his government, is strongly illustrative of the 
cautious jealousy still existing in Congress with regard to 
military power, even though wielded by Washington. 

After a prolonged debate, a committee of three was chosen 
by ballot ; it consisted of General Schuyler and Messrs. John 
Matthews and Nathaniel Peabody. It was a great satisfac- 
tion to Washington to have his old friend and coadjutor, 
Schuyler, near him in this capacity, in which, he declared, 
no man could be more useful, "from his perfect knowledge 
of the resources of the country, the activity of his temper, 
his fruitfulness of expedients, and his sound military sense." \ 

The committee, on arriving at the camp, found the disas- 

* Washington's Writings, Sparks, vol. vii. \ Ibid., p. 15. 
\ Washington to James Duane, Sparks, vii. 8 1 . 

294 U/orl^s of U/asl?io$toi) Irvirpo; 

trous state of affairs had not been exaggerated. For five 
months the army had been unpaid. Every department was 
destitute of money or credit, there were rarely provisions for 
six days in advance ; on some occasions the troops had been 
for several successive days without meat; there was no 
forage; the medical department had neither tea, chocolate, 
wine, nor spirituous liquors of any kind. "Yet the men," 
said Washington, "have borne their distress in general with 
a firmness and patience never exceeded, and every com- 
mendation is due to the officers for encouraging them to it 
by exhortation and example. They have suffered equally 
with the men, and, their relative situations considered, rather 
more." Indeed, we have it from another authority, that 
many officers for some time lived on bread and cheese, rather 
than take any of the scanty allowance of meat from the 

To soothe the discontents of the army, and counteract the 
alarming effects of the depreciation of the currency, Congress 
now adopted the measure already observed by some of the 
States, and engaged to make good to the Continental and 
the independent troops the difference in the value of theii 
pay caused by this depreciation; and that all moneys or 
other articles heretofore received by them should be consid- 
ered as advanced on account, and comprehended at their 
just value in the final settlement. 

At this gloomy crisis came a letter from the Marquis de 
Lafayette, dated April 27th, announcing his arrival at Bos- 
ton. "Washington's eyes, we are told, were suffused with 
tears as he read this most welcome epistle, and the warmth 

* Gen. William Irvine to Joseph Reed. Reed's Memoirs, 
vol. ii., p. 201. 

Cife of U/ast?ir)<$tor) 295 

with which he replied to it showed his affectionate regard 
for this young nobleman. "I received your letter," writes 
he, "with all the joy that the sincerest friendship could dic- 
tate, and with that impatience which an ardent desire to see 
you could not fail to inspire. ... I most sincerely con- 
gratulate you on your safe arrival in America, and shall 
embrace you with all the warmth of an affectionate friend 
when you come to headquarters, where a bed is prepared 
for you." 

He would immediately have sent a troop of horse to 
escort the marquis through the tory settlements between 
Morristown and the Hudson, had he known the route he 
intended to take ; the latter, however, arrived safe at head- 
quarters on the 12th of May, where he was welcomed by ac- 
clamations, for he was popular with both officers and sol- 
diers. Washington folded him in his arms in a truly paternal 
embrace, and they were soon closeted together to talk over 
the state of affairs, when Lafayette made known the result 
of his visit to France. His generous efforts at court had 
been crowned with success, and he brought the animating 
intelligence that a French fleet, under the Chevalier de Ter- 
nay, was to put to sea early in April, bringing a body of 
troops under the Count de Rochambeau, and might soon be 
expected on the coast to co-operate with the American forces ; 
this, however, he was at liberty to make known only to 
Washington and Congress. 

Remaining but a single day at headquarters, he hastened 
on to the seat of government, where he met the reception 
which his generous enthusiasm in the cause of American 
Independence had so fully merited. Congress, in a resolu- 
tion, on the 16th of May, pronounced his return to America 
to resume his command a fresh proof of the disinterested zeal 

296 U/orl^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> lrv\r)Q 

and persevering attachment which had secured him the pub- 
lic confidence and applause, and received with pleasure a 
"tender of the further services of so gallant and meritorious 
an officer." 

Within three days after the departure of the marquis 
from Morristown, Washington, in a letter to him, gave his 
idea of the plan which it would be proper for the French 
fleet and army to pursue on their arrival upon the coast. 
The reduction of New York he considered the first enterprise 
to be attempted by the co-operating forces. The whole effect- 
ive land force of the enemy he estimated at about eight thou- 
sand regulars and four thousand refugees, with some militia, 
on which no great dependence could be placed. Their naval 
force consisted of one seventy-four gun ship, and three or 
four small frigates. In this situation of affairs the French 
fleet might enter the harbor and gain possession of it with- 
out difficulty, cut off its communications, and, with the co- 
operation of the American army, oblige the city to capitu- 
late. He advised Lafayette, therefore, to write to the 
French commanders, urging them, on their arrival on 
the coast, to proceed with their land and naval forces, 
with all expedition, to Sandy Hook, and there await 
further advices; should they learn, however, that the ex- 
pedition under Sir Henry Clinton had returned from the 
South to New York, they were to proceed to Rhode Island. 

General Arnold was at this time in Philadelphia, and his 
connection with subsequent events requires a few words con- 
cerning his career, daily becoming more perplexed. He had 
again petitioned Congress on the subject of his accounts. 
The Board of Treasury had made a report far short of his 
wishes. He had appealed, and his appeal, together with all 
the documents connected with the case, was referred to a 

Cife of U/asl?in$ton 297 

committee of three. The old doubts and difficulties con- 
tinued: there was no prospect of a speedy settlement; he 
was in extremity. The Freuch minister, M. de Luzerne, 
was at hand ; a generous-spirited man, who had manifested 
admiration of his military character. To him Arnold now 
repaired in his exigency ; made a passionate representation 
of the hardships of his case ; the inveterate hostility he had 
experienced from Pennsylvania ; the ingratitude of his coun- 
try ; the disorder brought into his private affairs by the war, 
and the necessity he should be driven to of abandoning his 
profession, unless he could borrow a sum equal to the amount 
of his debts. Such a loan, he intimated, it might be the in- 
terest of the king of France to grant, thereby securing the 
attachment and gratitude of an American general of his 
rank and influence. 

The French minister was too much of a diplomatist not 
to understand the bearing of the intimation, but he shrank 
from it, observing that the service required would degrade 
both parties. "When the envoy of a foreign power," said 
he, "gives, or, if you will, lends money, it is ordinarily to 
corrupt those who receive it, and to make them the creatures 
of the sovereign whom he serves; or, rather, he corrupts 
without persuading; he buys and does not secure. But the 
league entered into between the king and the United States 
is the work of justice and of the wisest policy. It has for 
its basis a reciprocal interest and good will. In the mission 
with which I am charged, my true glory consists in fulfill- 
ing it without intrigue or cabal; without resorting to any 
secret practices, and by the force alone of the conditions of 
the alliance." 

Bf. de Luzerne endeavored to soften this repulse and re- 
proof by complimenting Arnold on the splendor of his past 

298 U/or^s of U/a8bir)$toi) Iruip$ 

career, and by alluding to the field of glory still before him ; 
but the pressure of debts was not to be lightened by compli- 
ments, and Arnold retired from the interview a mortified 
and desperate man. 

He was in this mood when he heard of the expected ar- 
rival of aid from France, and the talk of an active campaign. 
It seemed as if his military ambition was once more aroused. 
To General Schuyler, who was about to visit the camp as 
one of the committee, he wrote, on the 25th of May, express- 
ing a determination to rejoin the army, although his wounds 
still made it painful to walk or ride, and intimated that, in 
his present condition, the command at West Point would be 
best suited to him. 

In reply, General Schuyler wrote from Morristown, June 
2d, that he had put Arnold's letter into Washington's hands, 
and added: "He expressed a desire to do whatever was 
agreeable to you, dwelt on your abilities, your merits, your 
sufferings, and on the well-earned claims you have on your 
country, and intimated that as soon as his arrangements for 
the campaign should take place he would properly consider 

In the meantime, the army with which Washington was 
to co-operate in the projected attack upon New York was so 
reduced by the departure of troops whose term had expired, 
and the tardiness in furnishing recruits, that it did not 
amount quite to four thousand rank and file, fit for dut} T . 
Among these was a prevalent discontent. Their pay was 
five months in arrear; if now paid, it would be in Conti- 
nental currency, without allowance for depreciation, conse- 
quently almost worthless for present purposes. 

A long interval of scarcity and several days of actual 
famine brought matters to a crisis. On the 25th of May, in 

Cife of U/a8l?ir><$ton 2D9 

the dusk of the evening, two regiments of the Connecticut 
line assembled on their parade by beat of drum, and declared 
their intention to march home bag and baggage, "or, at best, 
to gain subsistence at the point of the bayonet." Colonel 
Meigs, while endeavoring to suppress the mutiny, was struck 
by one of the soldiers. Some officers of the Pennsylvania 
line came to his assistance, parading their regiments. Every 
argument and expostulation was used with the mutineers. 
They were reminded of their past good conduct, of the noble 
objects for which they were contending, and of the future 
indemnifications promised by Congress. Their answer was 
that their sufferings were too great to be allayed by promises 
in which they had little faith ; they wanted present relief, 
and some present substantial recompense for their services. 

It was with difficulty they could be prevailed upon to re- 
turn to their huts. Indeed, a few turned out a second time, 
with their packs, and were not to be pacified. These were 
arrested and confined. 

This mutiny, Washington declared, had given him infi- 
nitely more concern than anything that had ever happened, 
especially as he had no means of paying the troops excepting 
in Continental money, which, said he, "is evidently imprac- 
ticable from the immense quantity it would require to pay 
them as much as would make up the depreciation." His 
uneasiness was increased by finding that printed handbills 
were secretly disseminated in his camp by the enemy, con- 
taining addresses to the soldiery, persuading them to desert.* 

In this alarming state of destitution, Washington looked 
round anxiously for bread for his famishing troops. New 

* Letter to the President of Congress, May 27. Sparks, 
vii. 54. 

300 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top IruiQ^ 

York, Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland were what he 
termed his " flour country. ' ' Virginia was sufficiently tasked 
to supply the South. New York, by legislative coercion, 
had already given all that she could spare from the subsist- 
ence of her inhabitants. Jersey was exhausted by the long 
residence of the army. Maryland had made great exertions, 
and might still do something more, and Delaware might con- 
tribute handsomely, in proportion to her extent: but Penn- 
sylvania was now the chief dependence, for that State was 
represented to be full of flour. Washington's letter of the 
16th December, to President Reed, had obtained temporary 
relief from that quarter ; he now wrote to him a second time, 
and still more earnestly. " Every idea you can form of our 
distresses will fall short of the reality. There is such a com- 
bination of circumstances to exhaust the patience of the sol- 
diery that it begins at length to be worn out, and we see in 
every liue of the army features of mutiny and sedition. All 
our departments, all our operations, are at a stand, and un- 
less a system very different from that which has a long time 
prevailed be immediately adopted throughout the States, our 
affairs must soon become desperate beyond the possibility of 

Nothing discouraged "Washington more than the lethargy 
that seemed to deaden the public mind. He speaks of it 
with a degree of despondency scarcely ever before exhibited. 
"1 have almost ceased to hope. The country is in such a 
state of insensibility and indifference to its interests that I 
dare not flatter myself with any change for the better." 
And again — "The present juncture is so interesting that if 
it does not produce corresponding exertions it will be a proof 
that motives of honor, public good, and even self-preserva- 
tion have lost their influence on our minds. This is a decis- 

Cife of Wa&\)\r)$toT) 801 

ive moment ; one of the most, I will go further and say, the 
most important America has seen. The court of France has 
made a glorious effort for our deliverance, and if we disap- 
point its intentions by our supineness we must become con- 
temptible in the eyes of all mankind, nor can we after that 
venture to confide that our allies will persist in an attempt to 
establish what, it will appear, we want inclination or ability 
to assist them in." "With these and similar observations he 
sought to rouse President Reed to extraordinary exertions. 
1 'This is a time," writes he, "to hazard and to take a tone 
of energy and decision. All parties but the disaffected will 
acquiesce in the necessity and give it their support." He 
urges Reed to press upon the Legislature of Pennsylvania the 
policy of investing its executive with plenipotentiary powers. 
"I should then," writes he, "expect everything from your 
ability and zeal. This is no time for formality or ceremony. 
The crisis, in every point of view, is extraordinary, and ex- 
traordinary expedients are necessary. I am decided in this 

His letter procured relief for the army from the Legisla- 
ture, and a resolve empowering the president and council, 
during its recess, to declare martial law, should circumstances 
render it expedient. "This," observes Reed, "gives us a 
power of doing what may be necessary without attending to 
the ordinary course of law, and we shall endeavor to exer- 
cise it with prudence and moderation." * 

In like manner, Washington endeavored to rouse the 
dormant fire of Congress, and impart to it his own indomi- 
table energy. "Certain I am," writes he to a member of 
that body, "unless Congress speak in a more decisive tone, 

* Sparks, Corr. of the Rev., vol. ii., p. 400. 

302 U/orKs of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Irvir;$ 

unless they are vested with powers by the several States, 
competent to the purposes of war, or assume them as mat- 
ters of right, and they and the States respectively act with 
more energy than they have hitherto done, that our cause is 
lost. We can no longer drudge on in the old way. By ill- 
timing the adoption of measures, by delay in the execution 
of them, or by unwarrantable jealousies, we incur enormous 
expenses and derive no benefit from them. One State will 
comply with a requisition of Congress ; another neglects to 
do it; a third executes it by halves; and all differ, either in 
the manner, the matter, or so much in point of time, that 
we are always working uphill ; and, while such a system as 
the present one, or rather want of one, prevails, we shall 
ever be unable to apply our strength or resources to any ad" 
vantage — I see one head gradually changing into thirteen. 
I see one army branching into thirteen, which, instead of 
looking up to Congress as the supreme controlling power of 
the United States, are considering themselves dependent on 
their respective States. In a word, I see the powers of Con- 
gress declining too fast for the consideration and respect 
which are due to them as the great representative body of 
America, and I am fearful of the consequences." * 

At this juncture came official intelligence from the South, 
to connect which with the general course of events requires 
a brief notice of the operations of Sir Henry Clinton in that 

* Letter to Joseph Jones. Sparks, vii. 67. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$toD 303 


Siege of Charleston continued— British Ships enter the Harbor — 
British troops march from Savannah — Tarleton and his Dra- 
goons—His Brush with Colonel Washington — Charleston re- 
enforced by Woodford — Tarleton's Exploits at Monk's Corner 
— At Laneau's Ferry — Sir Henry Clinton re-enforced — Charles- 
ton capitulates — Affair of Tarleton and Buford on the Waxhaw 
— Sir Henry Clinton embarks for New York 

In a preceding chapter we left the British fleet, under 
Admiral Arbuthnot, preparing to force its way into the har- 
bor of Charleston. Several days elapsed before the ships 
were able, by taking out their guns, provisions, and water, 
and availing themselves of wind and tide, to pass the bar. 
They did so on the 20th of March, with but slight opposi- 
tion from several galleys. Commodore Whipple, then, see- 
ing the vast superiority of their force, made a second retro- 
grade move, stationing some of his ships in Cooper River, 
and sinking the rest at its mouth so as to prevent the enemy 
from running up that river, and cutting off communication 
with the country on the east : the crews and heavy cannon 
were landed to aid in the defense of the town. 

The re-enforcements expected from the North were not 
yet arrived ; the militia of the State did not appear at Gov- 
ernor Rutledge's command, and other reliances were failing. 
c ' Many of the North Carolina militia whose terms have ex- 
pired leave us to-day," writes Lincoln to Washington, on 

304 U/orl^s of ll/as^ir^tor; Irving 

the 20th of March. "They cannot be persuaded to remain 
longer, though the enemy are in our neighborhood." * 

At this time the re-enforcements which Sir Henry Clin- 
ton had ordered from Savannah were marching toward the 
Cambayee under Brigadier-general Patterson. On his flanks 
moved Major Ferguson with a corps of riflemen, and Major 
Cochrane with the infantry of the British legion; two brave 
and enterprising officers. It was a toilsome march, through 
swamps and difficult passes. Being arrived in the neighbor- 
hood of Port Royal, where Tarleton had succeeded, though 
indifferently, in remounting his dragoons, Patterson sent 
orders to that officer to join him. Tarleton hastened to 
obey the order. His arrival was timely. The Carolina mi- 
litia having heard that all the British horses had perished at 
sea made an attack on the front of General Patterson's force, 
supposing it to be without cavalry. To their surprise, Tarle- 
ton charged them with his dragoons, routed them, took sev- 
eral prisoners, and, what was more acceptable, a number of 
horses, some of the militia, he says, "being accoutered as 

Tarleton had soon afterward to encounter a worthy an- 
tagonist in Colonel "William "Washington, the same cavalry 
officer who had distinguished himself at Trenton, and was 
destined to distinguish himself still more in this Southern 
campaign. He is described as being six feet in height, 
broad, stout, and corpulent. Bold in the field, careless in 
the camp; kind to his soldiers; harassing to his enemies; 
gay and good-humored ; with an upright heart and a gener- 
ous hand, a universal favorite. He was now at the head of 
a body of Continental cavalry, consisting of his own and 

* Correspondence of the Rev., vol. ii., p. 419. 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<Jtop 305 

Bland's light-horse and Pulaski's hussars. A brush took 
place in the neighborhood of RantouPs Bridge. Colonel 
Washington had the advantage, took several prisoners, and 
drove back the dragoons of the British legion, but durst not 
pursue them for want of infantry.* 

On the 7th of April, Brigadier- general "Woodford with 
seven hundred Virginia troops, after a forced march of five 
hundred miles in thirty days, crossed from the east side of 
Cooper River, by the only passage now open, and threw 
himself into Charleston. It was a timely re-enforcement, 
and joyfully welcomed; for the garrison, when in greatest 
force, amounted to little more than two thousand regulars 
and one thousand North Carolina militia. 

About the same time Admiral Arbuthnot, in the " Roe- 
buck," passed Sullivan's Island, with a fresh southerly 
breeze, at the head of a squadron of seven armed vessels 
and two transports. "It was a magnificent spectacle, sat- 
isfactory to the royalists," writes the admiral. The whigs 
regarded it with a rueful eye. Colonel Pinckney opened a 
heavy cannonade from the batteries of Fort Moultrie. The 
ships thundered in reply, and clouds of smoke were raised, 
under the cover of which they slipped by, with no greater 
loss than twenty-seven men killed and wounded. A store- 
ship which followed the squadron ran aground, was set on 
fire and abandoned, and subsequently blew up. The ships 
took a position near Fort Johnston, just without the range 
of the shot from the American batteries. After the passage 
of the ships, Colonel Pinckney and a part of the garrison 
withdrew from Fort Moultrie. 

* Gordon, iii., p. 352 — see also Tarleton, Hist. Campaign, 
p. 8. 

306 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvipo; 

The enemy had by this time completed his first parallel, 
and the town, being almost entirely invested by sea and land, 
received a joint summons from the British general and ad- 
miral to surrender. " Sixty days have passed," writes Lin- 
coln in reply, "since it has been known that your intentions 
against this town were hostile, in which time has been af- 
forded to abandon it, but duty and inclination point to the 
propriety of supporting it to the last extremity." 

The British batteries were now opened. The siege was 
carried on deliberately by regular parallels, and on a scale 
of magnitude scarcely warranted by the moderate strength 
of the place. A great object with the besieged was to keep 
open the channel of communication with the country by the 
Cooper River, the last that remained by which they could 
receive re-enforcements and supplies, or could retreat, if nec- 
essary. For this purpose, Governor Rutledge, leaving the 
town in the care of Lieutenant-governor Gadsden, and one- 
half of the executive council, set off with the other half, and 
endeavored to rouse the militia between the Cooper and San- 
tee Rivers. His success was extremely limited. Two mi- 
litia posts were established by him; one between these riv- 
ers, the other at a ferry on the San tee ; some regular troops, 
also, had been detached by Lincoln, to throw up works about 
nine miles above the town, on the Wando, a branch of Cooper 
River, and at Lempriere's Point; and Brigadier-general 
Huger,* with a force of militia and Continental cavalry, 
including those of Colonel William "Washington, was sta- 
tioned at Monk's Corner, about thirty miles above Charles- 
ton, to guard the passes at the headwaters of Cooper River. 

Sir Henry Clinton, when proceeding with his second par- 
»i ■ ■■ 

* Pronounced Hugee — of French Huguenot descent. 

Cife of U/ast?ir><$toi7 30? 

allel, detached Lieutenant-colonel Webster with fourteen 
hundred men to break up these posts. The most distant 
one was that of Huger's cavalry at Monk's Corner. The 
surprisal of this was intrusted to Tarleton, who, with his 
dragoons, was in "Webster's advanced guard. He was to 
be seconded by Major Patrick Ferguson with his riflemen. 

Ferguson was a fit associate for Tarleton, in hardy ? 
scrambling, partisan enterprise; equally intrepid and de- 
termined, but cooler and more open to impulses of hu- 
manity. He was the son of an eminent Scotch judge, had 
entered the army at an early age, and served in the Ger- 
man wars. The British extolled him as superior to the 
American Indians in the use of the rifle, in short, as being 
the best marksman living. He had invented one which 
could be loaded at the breech and discharged seven times 
in a minute. It had been used with effect by his corps. 
Washington, according to British authority, had owed his 
life, at the battle of Germantown, solely to Ferguson's igno- 
rance of his person, having repeatedly been within reach of 
the colonel's unerring rifle.* 

On the evening of the 13th of April, Tarleton moved with 
the van toward Monk's Corner. A night march had been 
judged the most advisable. It was made in profound silence 
and by unfrequented roads. In the course of the march, a 
negro was descried attempting to avoid notice. He was 
seized. A letter was found on him from an officer in 
Huger's camp, from which Tarleton learned something of 
its situation and the distribution of the troops. A few dol- 
lars gained the services of the negro as a guide. The sur- 
prisal of General Huger's camp was complete. Several 

* Annual Register, 1781, p. 52. 

308 U/orl^s of U/asbir>$toi) Iruir>$ 

officers and men who attempted to defend themselves were 
killed or wounded. General Huger, Colonel "Washington, 
with many others, officers and men, escaped, in the dark- 
ness, to the neighboring swamps. One hundred officers, 
dragoons and hussars, were taken, with about four hundred 
horses and near fifty wagons, laden with arms, clothing and 

Biggins Bridge, on Cooper River, was likewise secured, 
and the way opened for Colonel Webster to advance nearly 
to the head of the passes, in such a manner as to shut up 
Charleston entirely. 

In the course of the maraud, which generally accom- 
panies a surprisal of the kind, several dragoons of the Brit- 
ish legion broke into a house in the neighborhood of Monk's 
Corner, and maltreated and attempted violence upon ladies 
residing there. The ladies escaped to Monk's Corner, where 
they were protected, and a carriage furnished to convey 
them to a place of safety. The dragoons were apprehended 
and brought to Monk's Corner, where, by this time, Colonel 
"Webster had arrived. Major Ferguson, we are told, was 
for putting the dragoons to instant death, but Colonel Web- 
ster did not think his powers warranted such a measure. 
"They were sent to headquarters," adds the historian, "and, 
I believe, afterward tried and whipped." * 

We gladly record one instance in which the atrocities 
which disgraced this invasion met with some degree of pun- 
ishment ; and we honor the rough soldier, Ferguson, for the 
fiat of "instant death," with which he would have requited 
the most infamous and dastardly outrage that brutalizes 

* Stedman, ii. 183. 

Clfe of U/asl?ii}<$tor) 309 

During the progress of the siege, General "Lincoln held 
repeated councils of war, in which he manifested a dispo- 
sition to evacuate the place. This measure was likewise 
urged by General Duportail, who had penetrated, by secret 
ways, into the town. The inhabitants, however, in an 
agony of alarm, implored Lincoln not to abandon them to 
the mercies of an infuriated and licentious soldiery, and the 
general, easy and kind-hearted, yielded to their entreaties. 

The American cavalry had gradually reassembled on the 
north of the Santee, under Colonel White, of New Jersey, 
where they were joined by some militia infantry, and by 
Colonel William Washington, with such of his dragoons as 
had escaped at Monk's Corner. Cornwallis had committed 
the country between Cooper and Wando Rivers to Tarleton's 
charge, with orders to be continually on the move with the 
cavalry and infantry of the legion ; to watch over the land- 
ing-places; obtain intelligence from the town, the Santee 
River and the back country, and to burn such stores as 
might fall into his hands, rather than risk their being 
retaken by the enemy. 

Hearing of the fortuitous assemblage of American troops, 
Tarleton came suddenly upon them by surprise at Laneau's 
Ferry. It was one of his bloody exploits. Five officers and 
thirty-six men were killed and wounded, and seven officers 
and six dragoons taken, with horses, arms and equipments. 
Colonels White, Washington and Jamieson, with other offi- 
cers and men, threw themselves in the river and escaped 
by swimming; while some, who followed their example, 

The arrival of a re-enforcement of three thousand men 
from New York enabled Sir Henry Clinton to throw a pow- 
erful detachment, under Lord Cornwallis, to the east of 

310 U/orl^s of U/asfyip^tor) Iruir>$ 

Cooper River, to complete the investment of the town and 
cut off all retreat. Fort Moultrie surrendered. The bat- 
teries of the third parallel were opened upon the town. 
They were so near that the Hessian yagers, or sharpshoot- 
ers, could pick off the garrison while at their guns or on the 
parapets. This fire was kept up for two days. The besieg- 
ers crossed the canal ; pushed a double sap to the inside of 
the abatis, and prepared to make an assault by sea and land. 

All hopes of successful defense were at an end. The 
works were in ruins ; the guns almost all dismounted ; the 
garrison exhausted with fatigue, the provisions nearly con- 
sumed. The inhabitants, dreading the horrors of an assault, 
joined in a petition to General Lincoln, and prevailed upon 
him to offer a surrender on terms which had already been 
offered and rejected. These terms were still granted, and 
the capitulation was signed on the 12th of May. The garri- 
son were allowed some of the honors of war. They were to 
march out and deposit their arms, between the canal and 
the works ; but the drums were not to beat a British march 
nor the colors to be uncased. The Continental troops and 
seamen were to be allowed their baggage, but were to re- 
main prisoners of war. The officers of the army and navy 
were to retain their servants, swords and pistols, and their 
baggage unsearched ; and were permitted to sell their horses ; 
but not to remove them out of the town. The citizens and 
the militia were to be considered prisoners on parole; the lat- 
ter to be permitted to return home, and both to be protected 
in person and property as long as they kept their parole. 
Among the prisoners were the lieutenant-governor and five 
of the council. 

The loss of the British in the siege was seventy-six killed 
and one hundred and eighty-nine wounded; that of the 

Cife of U/asI?ir}<$toi> 3U 

Americans nearly the same. The prisoners taken by the 
enemy, exclusive of the sailors, amounted to five thousand 
six hundred and eighteen men, comprising every male adult 
in the city. The Continental troops did not exceed two thou- 
sand, five hundred of whom were in the hospital; the rest 
were citizens and militia. 

Sir Henry Clinton considered the fall of Charleston de- 
cisive of the fate of South Carolina. To complete the subju- 
gation of the country, he planned three expeditions into the 
interior. One, under Lieutenant- colonel Brown, was to 
move up the Savannah to Augusta, on the borders of 
Georgia. Another, under Lieutenant-colonel Cruger, was 
to proceed up the southwest side of the Santee River to the 
district of Ninety- Six,* a fertile and salubrious region, be- 
tween the Savannah and the Saluda Rivers; while a third, 
under Cornwallis, was to cross the Santee, march up the 
northeast bank and strike at a corps of troops under Colonel 
Buford, which were retreating to North Carolina with artil- 
lery and a number of wagons laden with arms, ammunition 
and clothing. 

Colonel Buford, in fact, had arrived too late for the relief 
of Charleston, and was now making a retrograde move ; he 
had come on with three hundred and eighty troops of the 
Virginia line, and two field pieces, and had been joined by 
Colonel Washington with a few of his cavalry that had sur- 
vived the surprisal by Tarleton. As Buford was moving 
with celerity, and had the advantage of distance, Cornwallis 
detached Tarleton in pursuit of him, with one hundred and 
seventy dragoons, a hundred mounted infantry, and a three- 

* So cRlled in early times from being ninety-six miles 
from the principal town of the Cherokee nation. 

312 U/orKs of U/a8l?ir;$ton Iruir><$ 

pounder. The bold partisan pushed forward with his usual 
ardor and rapidity. The weather was sultry, many of the 
horses gave out through fatigue and heat; he pressed others 
by the way, leaving behind such of his troops as could not 
keep pace with him. After a day and night of forced march 
he arrived, about dawn, at Bugeley's Mills. Buford, he was 
told, was about twenty miles in advance of him, pressing on 
with all diligence to join another corps of Americans. Tarle- 
ton continued his march; the horses of the three- pounder 
were knocked up and unable to proceed; his wearied troops 
were continually dropping in the rear. Still he urged for- 
ward, anxious to overtake Buford before he could form a 
junction with the force he was seeking. To detain him he 
sent forward Captain Kinlock, of his legion, with a flag ajad 
the following letter : 

"Sir — Resistance being vain, to prevent the effusion of 
blood I make offers which can never be repeated. You are 
now almost encompassed by a corps of seven hundred light 
troops on horseback; half of that number are infantry with 
cannons. Earl Cornwallis is likewise within reach with nine 
British regiments. I warn you of the temerity of further 
inimical proceedings." 

He concluded by offering the same conditions granted to 
the troops at Charleston; "if you are rash enough to reject 
them," added he, "the blood be upon your head." 

Kinlock overtook Colonel Buford in full march on the 
banks of the Waxhaw, a stream on the border of North Caro- 
lina, and delivered the summons. The colonel read the letter 
without coming to a halt, detained the flag for some time in 
conversation, and then returned the following note : 

Cife of Was\)iT)QtOT) 313 


Sir— I reject your proposals, and shall defend myself to 

the last extremity. 

"I have the honor, etc." 

Tarleton, who had never ceased to press forward, came 
upon Buford's rearguard about three o'clock in the after- 
noon, and captured a sergeant and four dragoons. Buford 
had not expected so prompt an appearance of the enemy. 
He hastily drew up his men in order of battle, in an open 
wood, on the right of the road. His artillery and wagons, 
which were in the advance, escorted oy part of his infantry, 
were ordered to continue on their march. 

There appears to have been some confusion on the part of 
the Americans, and they had an impetuous foe to deal with. 
Before they were well prepared for action they were attacked 
in front and on both flanks by cavalry and mounted infantry. 
Tarleton, who advanced at the head of thirty chosen dragoons 
and some infantry, states that when within fifty paces of the 
Continental infantry, they presented, but he heard their 
officers command them to retain their fire until the British 
cavalry were nearer. It was not until the latter were within 
ten yards that there was a partial discharge of musketry. 
Several of the dragoons suffered by this fire. Tarleton him- 
self was unhorsed, but his troopers rode on. The American 
battalion was broken; most of the men threw down their 
arms and begged for quarter, but were cut down without 
mercy. One hundred and thirty were slain on the spot, and 
one hundred and fifty so mangled and maimed that they 
could not be moved. Colonel Buford and a few of the cav- 
alry escaped, as did about a hundred of the infantry, who 
were with the baggage in the advance. Fifty prisoners 

re all that were in a condition to be carried off by Tarle- 
ton as trophies of this butchery. 

Vol. XIV.—* • * 14 

314 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir;$ton Iruipo; 

The whole British loss was two officers and three privates 
killed, and one officer and fourteen privates wounded. What, 
then, could excuse this horrible carnage of an almost pros- 
trate enemy? We give Tarleton's own excuse for it. It 
commenced, he says, at the time he was dismounted, and 
before he could mount another horse ; and his cavalry were 
exasperated by a report that he was slain. Cornwallis ap- 
parently accepted this excuse, for he approved of his conduct 
in the expedition, and recommended him as worthy of some 
distinguished mark of royal favor. The world at large, 
however, have not been so easily satisfied, and the massacre 
at the Waxhaw has remained a sanguinary stain on the 
reputation of that impetuous soldier. 

The two other detachments which had been sent out by 
Clinton met with nothing but submission. The people in 
general, considering resistance hopeless, accepted the prof- 
fered protection, and conformed to its humiliating terms. 
One class of the population in this colony seems to have 
regarded the invaders as deliverers. "All the negroes," 
writes Tarleton, "men, women, and children, upon the ap- 
pearance of any detachment of king's troops, thought them- 
selves absolved from all respect to their American masters, 
and entirely released from servitude. They quitted the 
plantations and followed the army." * 

Sir Henry now persuaded himself that South Carolina 
was subdued, and proceeded to station garrisons in various 
parts, to maintain it in subjection. In the fullness of his 
confidence, he issued a proclamation on the 3d of June, dis- 
charging all the military prisoners from their paroles after 
the 20th of the month, excepting those captured in Fort 

* Tarleton's Hist, of Campaign, p. 89. 

Cife of U/asl?ii7<$toQ 315 

Moultrie and Charleston. All thus released from their 
parole were reinstated in the rights and duties of British 
subjects; but, at the same time, they were bound to take an 
active part in support of the government hitherto opposed 
by them. Thus the protection afforded them while prisoners 
was annulled by an arbitrary fiat — neutrality was at an end. 
All were to be ready to take up arms at a moment's notice. 
Those who had families were to form a militia for home 
defense. Those who had none were to serve with the royal 
forces. All who should neglect to return to their allegiance, 
or should refuse to take up arms against the independence 
of their country, were to be considered as rebels and treated 

Having struck a blow, which, as he conceived, was to 
insure the subjugation of the South, Sir Henry embarked 
for New York on the 5th of June, with a part of his forces, 
leaving the residue under the command of Lord Cornwallis, 
who was to carry the war into North Carolina, and thence 
into Virginia. 


Knyphausen marauds the Jerseys — Sacking of Connecticut Farms 
— Murder of Mrs. Caldwell — Arrival and Movements of Sir 
Henry Clinton — Springfield Burned — The Jerseys Evacuated 

A handbill published by the British authorities in New 
York reached Washington's camp on the 1st of June, and 
made known the surrender of Charleston. A person from 
Amboy reported, moreover, that on the 30th of May he had 
seen one hundred sail of vessels enter Sandy Hook. These 
might bring Sir Henry Clinton with the whole or part of 
his force. In that case, flushed with his recent success, he 

316 U/or^s of U/asl?ii}<$toi) Irufp© 

might proceed immediately up the Hudson, and make an 
attempt upon West Point, in the present distressed condition 
of the garrison. So thinking, Washington wrote to General 
Howe, who commanded that important post, to put him on 
his guard, and took measures to have him furnished with 

The report concerning the fleet proved to be erroneous, 
but on the 6th of June came a new alarm. The enemy, it 
was said, were actually landing in force at Elizabethtown 
Point, to carry fire and sword into the Jerseys. 

It was even so. Knyphausen, through spies and emis- 
saries, had received exaggerated accounts of the recent out- 
break in Washington's camp, and of the general discontent 
among the people of New Jersey; and was persuaded that 
a sudden show of military protection, following up the news 
of the capture of Charleston, would produce a general deser- 
tion among Washington's troops, and rally back the inhabi- 
tants of the Jerseys to their allegiance to the crown. 

In this belief he projected a descent into the Jerseys with 
about five thousand men, and some light artillery, who were 
to cross in divisions in the night of the 5th of June from 
Staten Island to Elizabethtown Point. 

The first division, led by Brigadier-general Sterling, 
actually landed before dawn of the 6th, and advanced as 
silently as possible. The heavy and measured tramp of the 
troops, however, caught the ear of an American sentinel 
stationed at a fork where the roads from the old and new 
point joined. He challenged the dimly descried mass as it 
approached, and receiving no answer fired into it. That 
shot wounded General Sterling in the thigh, and ultimately 
proved mortal. The wounded general was carried back, and 
Knyphausen took his place. 

Cife of U/asl?in>^top 317 

This delayed the march until sunrise, and gave time for 
the troops of the Jersey line, under Colonel Elias Dayton, 
stationed in Elizabeth town, to assemble. They were too 
weak in numbers, however, to withstand the enemy, but 
retreated in good order, skirmishing occasionally. The in- 
vading force passed through the village; in the advance, 
a squadron of dragoons of Simcoe's regiment of Queen's 
Rangers, with drawn swords and glittering helmets; fol- 
lowed by British and Hessian infantry.* 

Signal guns and signal fires were rousing the country. 
The militia and yeomanry armed themselves with such 
weapons as were at hand and hastened to their alarm posts. 
The enemy took the old road, by what was called Galloping 
Hill, toward the village of Connecticut Farms; fired upon 
from behind walls and thickets by the hasty levies of the 

At Connecticut Farms, the retreating troops under Day- 
ton fell in with the Jersey brigade, under General Maxwell, 
and a few militia joining them, the Americans were enabled 
to make some stand, and even to hold the enemy in check. 
The latter, however, brought up several field-pieces, and 
being re -enforced by a second division which had crossed 
from Staten Island some time after the first, compelled the 
Americans again to retreat. Some of the enemy, exasper- 
ated at the unexpected opposition they had met with through- 
out their march, and pretending that the in habitants of this 
village had fired upon them from their windows, began to 
pillage and set fire to the houses. It so happened that to this 
village the Reverend James Caldwell, "the rousing gospel 
preacher," had removed his family as to a place of safety, 

* Passages in the Hist, of Elizabethtown, Capt. "W. C. 
De Hart. 

318 U/or^s of U/a8l?ir)<$toi) Irvipo; 

after his church at Elizabethtown had been burned down by 
the British in January. On the present occasion he had 
retreated with the regiment to which he was chaplain. His 
wife, however, remained at the parsonage with her two 
youngest children, confiding in the protection of Providence 
and the humanity of the enemy. 

When the sacking of the village took place she retired 
with her children into a back room of the house. Her infant 
of eight months was in the arms of an attendant ; she herself 
was seated on the side of a bed holding a child of three years 
by the hand, and was engaged in prayer. All was terror 
and confusion in the village; when suddenly a musket was 
discharged in at the window. Two balls struck her in the 
breast, and she fell dead on the floor. The parsonage and 
church were set on fire, and it was with difficulty her body 
was rescued from the flames. 

In the meantime Knyphausen was pressing on with his 
main force toward Morristown. The booming of alarm guns 
had roused the country; every valley was pouring out its 
yeomanry. Two thousand were said to be already in arms 
below the mountains. 

Within half a mile of Springfield Knyphausen halted to 
reconnoiter. That village, through which passes the road 
to Morristown, had been made the American rallying-point. 
It stands at the foot of what are called the Short Hills, on 
the west side of Rahway River, which runs in front of it. 
On the bank of the river, General Maxwell's Jersey brigade 
and the militia of the neighborhood were drawn up to dispute 
the passage ; and on the Short Hills in the rear was Wash- 
ington with the main body of his forces, not mutinous and 
in confusion, but all in good order, strongly posted and ready 
for action. 

Cife of U/as^ii)<$tor> 319 

Washington had arrived and taken his position that after- 
noon, prepared to withstand an encounter though not to seek 
one. All night his camp fires lighted up the Short Hills, 
and he remained on the alert, expecting to be assailed in the 
morning ; but in the morning no enemy was to be seen. 

Knyphausen had experienced enough to convince him 
that he had been completely misinformed as to the disposition 
of the Jersey people and of the army. Disappointed as to 
the main objects of his enterprise, he had retreated, under 
cover of the night, to his place of embarkation, intending 
to recross to Staten Island immediately. 

In the camp at the Short Hills was the Reverend James 
Caldwell, whose home had been laid desolate. He was still 
ignorant of the event, but had passed a night of great anxiety, 
and, procuring the protection of a flag, hastened back in the 
morning to Connecticut Farms. He found the village in 
ashes and his wife a mangled corpse! 

In the course of the day "Washington received a letter 
from Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who was reconnoitering 
in the neighborhood of Elizabethtown Point. "I have seen 
the enemy," writes he. "Those in view I calculate at about 
three thousand. There may be, and probably are, enough 
others out of sight. They have sent all their horses to the 
other side except about fifty or sixty. Their baggage has 
also been sent across, and their wounded. It is not ascer- 
tained that any of their infantry have passed on the other 
side. . . . The present movement may be calculated to 
draw us down and betray us into an action. Tlaev may 
have desisted from their intention of passing till night, for 
fear of our falling upon their rear." 

As Washington was ignorant of the misinformation which 
had beguiled Knyphausen into this enterprise, the movements 

320 U/or^g of U/as^iQ^toi) Irvine" 

of that general, his sudden advance, and as sudden retreat, 
were equally inexplicable. At one time he supposed his in- 
road to be a mere foraging incursion ; then, as Hamilton had 
suggested, a device to draw him down from his stronghold 
into the plain, when the superiority of the British force 
would give them the advantage. 

Knyphausen, in fact, had been impeded in crossing his 
troops to Staten Island, by the low tide and deep muddy 
shore, which rendered it difficult to embark the cavalry ; and 
by a destructive fire kept up by the militia posted along the 
river banks and the adjacent woods. In the meanwhile he 
had time to reflect on the ridicule that would await him 
in New York, should his expedition prove fruitless and end 
in what might appear a precipitate flight. This produced 
indecision of mind, and induced him to recall the troops 
which had already crossed, and which were necessary, he 
said, to protect his rear. 

For several days he lingered with his troops at Elizabeth - 
town and the Point beyond ; obliging Washington to exercise 
unremitted vigilance for the safety of the Jerseys and of the 
Hudson. It was a great satisfaction to the latter to be joined 
by Major Henry Lee, who, with his troop of horse, had has- 
tened on from the vicinity of Philadelphia, where he had 
recently been stationed. 

In the meantime, the tragical fate of Mrs. Caldwell pro- 
duced almost as much excitement throughout the country 
as that which had been caused in the preceding year by the 
massacre of Miss McCrea. She was connected with some of 
the first people of New Jersey ; was winning in person and 
character, and universally beloved. Knyphausen was vehe- 
mently assailed in the American papers, as if responsible 
for this atrocious act. The enemy, however, attributed her 

Cife of U/a&l?ir?<$tor) 321 

death to a random shot, discharged in a time of confusion, 
or to the vengeance of a menial who had a deadly pique 
against her husband ; but the popular voice persisted in exe- 
crating it as the willful and wanton act of a British soldier. 

On the 17th of June the fleet from the South actually 
arrived in the bay of New York, and Sir Henry Clinton 
landed his troops on Staten Island, but almost immediately 
re-embarked them; as if meditating an expedition up the 

Fearing for the safety of West Point, Washington set off, 
on the 21st of June, with the main body of his troops, toward 
Pomp ton; while General Greene, with Maxwell and Stark's 
brigades, Lee's dragoons, and the militia of the neighbor- 
hood, remained encamped on the Short Hills, to cover the 
country and protect the stores at Morristown. 

Washington's movements were slow and wary, unwilling 
to be far from Greene until better informed of the designs 
of the enemy. At Rockaway Bridge, about eleven miles 
beyond Morristown, he received word on the 23d that the 
enemy were advancing from Elizabethtown against Spring- 
field. Supposing the military depot at Morristown to be 
their ultimate object, he detached a brigade to the assistance 
of Greene, and fell back five or six miles, so as to be in sup- 
porting distance of him. 

The re-embarkation of the troops at Staten Island had, 
in fact, been a stratagem of Sir Henry Clinton to divert the 
attention of Washington, and enable Knyphausen to carry 
out the enterprise which had hitherto hung fire. No sooner 
did the latter ascertain that the American commander-in- 
chief had moved off with his main force toward the High- 
lands, than he sallied from Elizabethtown five thousand 
strong, with a large body of cavalry, and fifteen or twenty 

3'22 U/orl^s of U/asr;ir)<$toi) Iruii)<? 

pieces of artillery ; hoping not merely to destroy the public 
stores at Morristown, but to get possession of those difficult 
hills and defiles, among which Washington's army had been 
so securely posted, and which constituted the strength of that 
part of the country. 

It was early on the morning of the 23d that Knyphausen 
pushed forward toward Springfield. Besides the main road, 
which passes directly through the village toward Morristown, 
there is another, north of it, called the Vauxhall road, cross- 
ing several small streams, the confluence of which forms the 
Railway. These two roads unite beyond the village in 
the principal pass of the Short Hills. The enemy's troops 
advanced rapidly in two compact columns, the right one 
by the Vauxhall road, the other by the main or direct road. 
General Greene was stationed among the Short Hills, about 
a mile above the town. His troops were distributed at vari- 
ous posts, for there were many passes to guard. 

At five o'clock in the morning, signal-guns gave notice 
of the approach of the enemy. The drums beat to arms 
throughout the camp. The troops were hastily called in 
from their posts among the mountain passes, and prepara- 
tions were made to defend the village. 

Major Lee, with his dragoons and a picket-guard, was 
posted on the Vauxhall road, to check the right column of 
the enemy in its advance. Colonel Dayton, with his regi- 
ment of New Jersey militia, was to check the left column 
on the main road. Colonel Angel, of Rhode Island, with 
about two hundred picked men and a piece of artillery, was 
to defend a bridge over the Rahway, a little west of the 
town. Colonel Shreve, stationed with his regiment at a 
second bridge over a branch of the Rahway east of the town, 
was to cover, if necessary, the retreat of Colonel Angel. 

Cife of U/asI?ir)<$toi7 323 

Those parts of Maxwell and Stark's brigades which were 
not thus detached were drawn up on high ground in the 
rear of the town, having the militia on their flanks. 

There was some sharp fighting at a bridge on the Vaux- 
hall road, where Major Lee, with his dragoons and picket- 
guard, held the right column at bay ; a part of the column, 
however, forded the stream above the bridge, gained a com- 
manding position, and obliged Lee to retire. 

The left column met with similar opposition from Dayton 
and his Jersey regiment. None showed more ardor in the 
fight than Caldwell, the chaplain. The image of his mur- 
dered wife was before his eyes. Finding the men in want 
of wadding, he galloped to the Presbyterian church and 
brought thence a quantity of "Watts 's psalm and hymn books, 
which he distributed for the purpose among the soldiers. 
"Now," cried he, "put Watts into them, boys!" 

The severest righting of the day was at the bridge over 
the Rahway. For upward of half an hour Colonel Angel 
defended it with his handful of men against a vastly superior 
force. One-fourth of his men were either killed or disabled. 
The loss of the enemy was still more severe. Angel was at 
length compelled to retire. He did so in good order, carry- 
ing off his wounded, and making his way through the village 
to the bridge beyond it. Here his retreat was bravely cov- 
ered by Colonel Shreve; but he, too, was obliged to give way 
before the overwhelming force of the enemy, and join the 
brigades of Maxwell and Stark upon the hill. 

General Greene, finding his front too much extended for 
his small force, and that he was in danger of being out- 
flanked on the left by the column pressing forward on the 
Vauxhall road, took post with his main body on the first 
range of hills, where the roads were brought near to a point 

324 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top lr\j\T)Q 

and passed between him and the height occupied by Stark 
and Maxwell. He then threw out a detachment which 
checked the further advance of the right column of the 
enemy along the Vauxhall road, and secured that pass 
through the Short Hills. Feeling himself now strongly 
posted, he awaited with confidence the expected attempt 
of the enemy to gain the height. No such attempt was 
made. The resistance already experienced, especially at 
the bridge, and the sight of militia gathering from various 
points, dampened the ardor of the hostile commander. He 
saw that, should he persist in pushing for Morristown, he 
would have to fight his way through a country abounding 
with difficult passes, every one of which would be obsti- 
nately disputed; and that the enterprise, even if successful, 
might cost too much, besides taking him too far from New 
York at a time when a French armament might be expected. 

Before the brigade detached by Washington arrived at 
the scene of action, therefore, the enemy had retreated. 
Previous to their retreat they wreaked upon Springfield the 
same vengeance they had inflicted on Connecticut Farms. 
The whole village, excepting four houses, was reduced to 
ashes. Their second retreat was equally ignoble with their 
first. They were pursued and harassed the whole wa}^ to 
Elizabethtown by light scouting parties and by the militia 
and yeomanry of the country, exasperated by the sight of 
the burning village. Lee, too, came upon their rearguard 
with his dragoons; captured a quantity of stores abandoned 
by them in the hurry of retreat, and made prisoners of 
several refugees. 

It was sunset when the enemy reached Elizabethtown. 
During the night they passed over to Staten Island by their 
bridge of boats. By six o'clock in the morning all had 

Cife of U/asl?ii7<$toQ 325 

crossed and the bridge had been removed — and the State 
of New Jersey, so long harassed by the campaigns of either 
army, was finally evacuated by the enemy. It had proved 
a school of war to the American troops. The incessant 
marchings and countermarchings ; the rude encampments; 
the exposure to all kinds of hardship and privation; the 
alarms; the stratagems; the rough encounters and advent- 
urous enterprises of which this had been the theater for the 
last three or four years, had rendered the patriot soldier 
hardy, adroit, and long-suffering; had accustomed him to 
danger, inured him to discipline, and brought him nearly 
on a level with the European mercenary in the habitudes 
and usages of arms, while he had the superior incitements 
of home, country, and independence. The ravaging incur- 
sions of the enemy had exasperated the most peace-loving 
parts of the country; made soldiers of the husbandmen, 
acquainted them with their own powers, and taught them 
that the foe was vulnerable. The recent ineffectual attempts 
of a veteran general to penetrate the fastnesses of Morris- 
town, though at the head of a veteran force, " which would 
once have been deemed capable of sweeping the whole conti- 
nent before it, ' ' was a lasting theme of triumph to the in- 
habitants ; and it is still the honest boast among the people 
of Morris County that "the enemy never were able to get 
a footing among our hills." At the same time the confla- 
gration of villages, by which they sought to cover or revenge 
their repeated failures, and their precipitate retreat, har- 
assed and insulted by half-disciplined militia, and a crude, 
rustic levy, formed an ignominious close to the British 
campaigns in the Jerseys. 

326 U/orKs of U/ast?ir;$tor; Irvii)$ 


Washington applies to the State Legislatures for Aid — Subscriptions 
of the Ladies of Philadelphia — Gates appointed to Command 
the Southern Department — French Fleet arrives at Newport — 
Preparations for a Combined Movement against New York — Ar- 
nold obtains Command at West Point — Greene resigns the office 
of Quartermaster-General 

Apprehensive that the next move of the enemy would 
be up the Hudson, Washington resumed his measures for 
the security of West Point ; moving toward the Highlands 
in the latter part of June. Circumstances soon convinced 
him that the enemy had no present intention of attacking 
that fortress, but merely menaced him at various points, to 
retard his operations, and oblige him to call out the militia; 
thereby interrupting agriculture, distressing the country, and 
rendering his cause unpopular. Having, therefore, caused 
the military stores in the Jerseys to be removed to more 
remote and secure places, he countermanded by letter the 
militia, which were marching to camp from Connecticut and 

He now exerted himself to the utmost to procure from 
the different State Legislatures their quotas and supplies for 
the regular army. "The sparing system," said he, "has 
been tried until it has brought us to a crisis little less than 
desperate. " This was the time, by one great exertion, to 
put an end to the war. The basis of everything was the 
completion of the Continental battalions to their full estab- 
lishment; otherwise, nothing decisive could be attempted, 
and this campaign, like all the former, must be chiefly defen- 

Cife of \]Jas\)\r)$tQT) 327 

sive. He warned against those "indolent and narrow poli- 
ticians, who, except at the moment of some signal misfort- 
une, are continually crying, all is well, and who, to save 
a little present expense, and avoid some temporary inconven- 
ience, with no ill designs in the main, would protract the war 
and risk the perdition of our liberties.' ' * 

The desired relief, however, had to be effected through 
the ramifications of General and State governments, and 
their committees. The operations were tardy and unpro- 
ductive. Liberal contributions were made by individuals, 
a bank was established by the inhabitants of Philadelphia 
to facilitate the supplies of the army, and an association of 
ladies of that city raised by subscription between seven and 
eight thousand dollars, which were put at the disposition of 
"Washington, to be laid out in such a manner as he might 
think "most honorable and gratifying to the brave old sol- 
diers who had borne so great a share of the burden of the 

The capture of Lincoln at Charleston had left the South- 
ern department without a commander-in-chief. As there 
were likely to be important military operations in that quar- 
ter, Washington had intended to recommend General Greene 
for the appointment. He was an officer on whose abilities, 
discretion, and disinterested patriotism he had the fullest re- 
liance, and whom he had always found thoroughly disposed 
to act in unison with him in his general plan of carrying on 
the war. Congress, however, with unbecoming precipi- 
tancy, gave that important command to General Gates 
(June 13th), without waiting to consult Washington's views 
or wishes. 

* Letter to Gov. Trumbull. Sparks, vii. 93. 

#28 ll/orl^s of U/a8bii}$toi} Irvii}$ 

Gates, at the time, was on his estate in Virginia, and ac- 
cepted the appointment with avidity, anticipating new tri- 
umphs. His old associate, General Lee, gave him an omi- 
nous caution at parting. "Beware that your Northern 
laurels do not change to Southern willows!" 

On the 10th of July a French fleet, under the Chevalier 
de Ternay, arrived at Newport, in Rhode Island. It was 
composed of seven ships of the line, two frigates, and two 
bombs, and convoyed transports on board of which were up- 
ward of five thousand troops. This was the first division of 
the forces promised by France, of which Lafayette had 
spoken. The second division had been detained at Brest for 
want of transports, but might soon be expected. 

The Count de Rochambeau, lieutenant-general of the 
royal armies, was commander-in-chief of this auxiliary 
force. He was a veteran, fifty-five years of age, who 
had early distinguished himself, when colonel of the regi- 
ment of Auvergne, and had gained laurels in various bat- 
tles, especially that of Kloster camp, of which he decided the 
success. Since then he had risen from one post of honor to 
another, until intrusted with his present important command.* 

Another officer of rank and distinction in thi3 force was 
Major-general the Marquis de Chastellux, a friend and rela- 
tive of Lafayette, but much his senior, being now forty-six 
years of age. He was not only a soldier, but a man of let- 
ters, and one familiar with courts as well as camps. 

Count Rocham beau's first dispatch to Vergennes, the 
French Minister of State (July 16th), gave a discouraging 
picture of affairs. "Upon my arrival here," writes he, "the 

* Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rocham 
beau, was born at Vendome, in France, 1725. 

Cife of U/a8tHi?<$tor) 329 

country was in consternation, the paper money had fallen to 
sixty for ooe, and even the government takes it up at forty 
for one. Washington had for a long time only three thou- 
sand men under his command. The arrival of the Marquis 
de Lafayette, and the announcement of succors from France, 
afforded some encouragement; but the tories, who are very 
numerous, gave out that it was only a temporary assistance, 
like that of Count D'Estaing. In describing to you our re- 
ception at this place, we shall show you the feeling of all the 
inhabitants of the continent. This town is of considerable 
size, and contains, like the rest, both whigs and tories. I 
landed with my staff, without troops; nobody appeared in 
the streets ; those at the windows looked sad and depressed. 
I spoke to the principal persons of that place, and told them, 
as I wrote to General Washington, that this was merely the 
advanced guard of a greater force, and that the king was 
determined to support them with his whole power. In 
twenty-four hours their spirits rose, and last night all the 
streets, houses and steeples were illuminated, in the midst 
of fireworks and the greatest rejoicings. I am now here 
with a single company of grenadiers, until wood and straw 
shall have been collected; my camp is marked out, and 1 
hope to have the troops landed to-morrow." 

Still, however, there appears to have been a lingering 
feeling of disappointment in the public bosom. "The whigs 
are pleased," writes De Rochambeau, "but they say that 
the king ought to have sent twenty thousand men, and 
twenty ships, to drive the enemy from New York; that the 
country was infallibly ruined ; that it is impossible to find a 
recruit to send to General Washington's army, without giv- 
ing him one hundred hard dollars to engage for six months' 
service, and they beseech his majesty to assist them with all 

$30 U/or^s of U/asbio<$toi> Iruii)^ 

his strength. The war will be an expensive one ; we pay 
even for our quarters, and for the land covered with the 
camp." * 

The troops were landed to the east of the town; their 
encampment was on a fine situation, and extended nearly 
across the island. Much was said of their gallant and mar- 
tial appearance. There was the noted regiment of Au- 
vergne, in command of which the Count de Rochambeau 
had first gained his laurels, but which was now commanded 
by his son, the viscount, thirty years of age. A legion of 
six hundred men also was especially admired ; it was com- 
manded by the Duke de Lauzun (Lauzun-Biron), who had 
gained reputation in the preceding year by the capture of 
Senegal. A feeling of adventure and romance, associated 
with the American struggle t had caused many of the young 
nobility to seek this new field of achievement, who, to use 
De Rochambeau's words, "brought out with them the heroic 
and chivalrous courage of the ancient French nobility." To 
their credit be it spoken also, they brought with them the 
ancient French politeness, for it was remarkable how soon 
they accommodated themselves to circumstances, made light 
of all the privations and inconveniences of a new country, 
and conformed to the familiar simplicity of republican man- 
ners. General Heath, who, by Washington's orders, was 
there to offer his services, was, by his own account, 
"charmed with the officers," who, on their part, he said, 
expressed the highest satisfaction with the treatment they 

The instructions of the French ministry to the Count 
de Rochambeau placed him entirely under the command of 

* Sparks. Writings of Washington, vii. 504. 

Cife of U/asI?ir><$toi> 331 

General Washington. The French troops were to be con- 
sidered as auxiliaries, and as such were to take the left of 
the American troops, and, in all cases of ceremony, to yield 
them the preference. This considerate arrangement had 
been adopted at the suggestion of the Marquis de Lafayette, 
and was intended to prevent the recurrence of those ques- 
tions of rank and etiquette which had heretofore disturbed 
the combined service. 

Washington, in general orders, congratulated the army 
on the arrival of this timely and generous succor, which he 
hailed as a new tie between France and America ; anticipat- 
ing that the only contention between the two armies would 
be to excel each other in good offices, and in the display of 
every military virtue. The American cockade had hitherto 
been black, that of the French was white ; he recommended 
to his officers a cockade of black and white intermingled, in 
compliment to their allies, and as a symbol of friendship and 

His joy at this important re-enforcement was dashed by 
the mortifying reflection that he was still unprovided with 
the troops and military means requisite for the combined 
operations meditated. Still he took upon himself the re- 
sponsibility of immediate action, and forthwith dispatched 
Lafayette to have an interview with the French command- 
ers, explain the circumstances of the case, and concert plans 
for the proposed attack upon New York. 

"Pressed on all sides by a choice of difficulties/ ' writes 
he to the president, "I have adopted that line of conduct 
which suited the dignity and faith of Congress, the reputa- 
tion of these States, and the honor of our arms. Neither the 
season nor a regard to decency would permit delay. The 
die is cast, and it remains with the States to either fulfill 

332 U/orKs of U/as^ip^tor) Iruir?$ 

their engagements, preserve their credit, and support their 
independence, or to involve us in disgrace and defeat. . . . 
I shall proceed on the supposition that they will ultimately 
consult their own interest and honor, and not suffer us to 
fail for want of means, which it is evidently in their power 
to afford. What has been done, and is doing, by some of 
the States, confirms the opinion I have entertained of the 
sufficient resources of the country. As to the disposition 
of the people to submit to any arrangements for bringing 
them forth, I see no reasonable grounds to doubt. If we 
fail for want of proper exertions in any of the governments, 
I trust the responsibility will fall where it ought, and that 
I shall stand justified to Congress, to my country, and to 
the world." 

The arrival, however, of the British Admiral Graves, at 
New York, on the 13th of July, with six ships-of-the-line, 
gave the enemy such a superiority of naval force that the 
design on Few York was postponed until the second French 
division should make its appearance, or a squadron under 
the Count de Guichen, which was expected from the West 

In the meantime, Sir Henry Clinton, who had informa- 
tion of all the plans and movements of the allies, determined 
to forestall the meditated attack upon New York by beating 
up the French quarters on Rhode Island. This he was to do 
in person, at the head of six thousand men, aided by Admiral 
Arbuthnot with his fleet. Sir Henry accordingly proceeded 
with his troops to Throg's Neck, on the Sound, there to 
embark on board of transports which Arbuthnot was to pro- 
vide. No sooner did Washington learn that so large a force 
had left New York, than he crossed the Hudson to Peekskill, 
and prepared to move toward King's Bridge, with the main 

Cffe of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 333 

body of his troops, which had recently been re-enforced. 
His intention was, either to oblige Sir Henry to abandon his 
project against Rhode Island, or to strike a blow at New 
York during his absence. As "Washington was on horse- 
back, observing the crossing of the last division of his troops, 
General Arnold approached, having just arrived in the camp. 
Arnold had been maneuvering of late to get command of 
West Point, and, among other means, had induced Mr. 
Robert R. Livingston, then a New York member of Con- 
gress, to suggest it in a letter to Washington as a measure 
of great expediency. Arnold now accosted the latter to 
know whether any place had been assigned to him. He was 
told that he was to command the left wing, and Washing- 
ton added that they would have further conversation on the 
subject when he returned to headquarters. The silence and 
evident chagrin with which the reply was received surprised 
Washington, and he was still more surprised when he 
subsequently learned that Arnold was more desirous of 
a garrison post than of a command in the field, al- 
though a post of honor had been assigned him, and 
active service was anticipated. Arnold's excuse was that 
his wounded leg still unfitted him for action either on 
foot or horseback, but that at West Point he might render 
himself useful. 

The expedition of Sir Henry was delayed by the tardy 
arrival of transports. In the meantime, he heard of the 
sudden move of Washington, and learned, moreover, that 
the position of the French at Newport had been strengthened 
by the militia from the neighboring country. These tidings 
disconcerted his plans. He left Admiral Arbuthnot to pro- 
ceed with his squadron to Newport, blockade the French 
fleet, and endeavor to intercept the second division supposed 

334 U/orl^s of U/asfyio^top Iruir)<$ 

to be on its way, while he with his troops hastened back to 
New York. 

In consequence of their return Washington again with- 
drew his forces to the west side of the Hudson ; first estab- 
lishing a post and throwing up small works at Dobbs' Ferry, 
about ten miles from King's Bridge, to secure a communica- 
tion across the river for the transportation of troops and 
ordnance, should the design upon New York be prosecuted. 

Arnold now received the important command which he 
had so earnestly coveted. It included the fortress at West 
Point and the posts from Fishkill to King's Ferry, together 
with the corps of infantry and cavalry advanced toward the 
enemy's line on the east side of the river. He was ordered 
to have the works at the Point completed as expeditiously as 
possible, and to keep all his posts on their guard against sur- 
prise; there being constant apprehensions that the enemy 
might make a sudden effort to gain possession of the river. 

Having made these arrangements, Washington recrossed 
to the west side of the Hudson, and took post at Orangetown 
or Tappan, on the borders of the Jerseys, and opposite to 
Dobbs' Ferry, to be at hand for any attempt upon ( New 

The execution of this cherished design, however, was 
again postponed by intelligence that the second division of 
the French re-enforcements was blockaded in the harbor 
of Brest by the British; Washington still had hopes that 
it might be carried into effect by the aid of the squadron 
of the Count de Guichen from the West Indies; or of a 
fleet from Cadiz. 

At this critical juncture, an embarrassing derangement 
took place in the quartermaster-general's department, of 
which General Greene was the head. The reorganization 

Cife of U/a8l?ir?<$toi? 335 

of this department had long been in agitation. A system 
had been digested by Washington, Schuyler, and Greene, 
adapted, as they thought, to the actual situation of the 
country. Greene had offered, should it be adopted, to con- 
tinue in the discharge of the duties of the department with- 
out any extra emolument other than would cover the expenses 
of his family. Congress devised a different scheme. He 
considered it incapable of execution, and likely to be attended 
with calamitous and disgraceful results; he therefore ten- 
dered his resignation. "Washington endeavored to prevent 
its being accepted. " Unless effectual measures are taken,' ' 
said he, "to induce General Greene and the other principal 
officers of that department to continue their services, there 
must of necessity be a total stagnation of military business. 
We not only must cease from the preparations for the cam- 
paign, but in all probability shall be obliged to disperse, if 
not disband the army, for want of subsistence." 

The tone and manner, however, assumed by General 
Greene in offering his resignation, and the time chosen when 
the campaign was opened, the enemy in the field, and the 
French commanders waiting for co-operation, were deeply 
offensive to Congress. His resignation was promptly ac- 
cepted : there was a talk even of suspending him from his 
command in the line. 

Washington interposed his sagacious and considerate 
counsels to allay this irritation, and prevent the infliction 
of such an indignity upon an officer for whom he entertained 
the highest esteem and friendship. "A procedure of this 
kind, without a proper trial, , ' said he, "must touch the feel- 
ings of every officer. It will show in a conspicuous point 
of view the uncertain tenure by which they hold their com- 
missions. In a word, it will exhibit such a specimen of 

336 U/orl^s of U/asbip^toi) Iruii)$ 

power that I question much if there is an officer in the whole 
line that will hold a commission beyond the end of the cam- 
paign, if he does till then. Such an act in the most despotic 
government would be attended at least with loud com- 

The counsels of Washington prevailed; the indignity- 
was not inflicted, and Congress was saved from the error, 
if not disgrace, of discarding from her service one of the 
ablest and most meritorious of her generals. 

Colonel Pickering was appointed to succeed Greene as 
quartermaster-general, but the latter continued for some 
time, at the request of "Washington, to aid in conducting the 
business of the department. Colonel Pickering acquitted 
himself in his new office with zeal, talents, and integrity, 
but there were radical defects in the system which defied 
all ability and exertion. 

The commissariat was equally in a state of derangement. 
"At this very juncture," writes "Washington (Aug. 20th), 
"I am reduced to the painful alternative, either of dismiss- 
ing a part of the militia now assembling, or of letting them 
come forward to starve; which it will be extremely difficult 
for the troops already in the field to avoid. . . . Every 
day's experience proves more and more that the present 
mode of supplies is the most uncertain, expensive, and in- 
jurious, that could be devised. It is impossible for us to 
form any calculations of what we are to expect, and, conse- 
quently, to concert any plans for future execution. No ade- 
quate provision of forage having been made, we are now 
obliged to subsist the horses of the army by force, which, 
among other evils, often gives rise to civil disputes, and 
prosecutions, as vexatious as they are burdensome to the 
public." In his emergencies he was forced to empty the 

Cife of WastyvqtoT) 337 

magazines at "West Point ; yet these afforded but temporary 
relief ; scarcity continued to prevail to a distressing degree, 
and on the 6th of September he complains that the army has 
for two or three days been entirely destitute of meat. "Such 
injury to the discipline of the army," adds he, "and such 
distress to the inhabitants, result from these frequent events, 
that my feelings are hurt beyond description at the cries of 
the one and at seeing the other. ' ' 

The anxiety of Washington at this moment of embar- 
rassment was heightened by the receipt of disastrous in- 
telligence from the South; the purport of which we shall 
succinctly relate in another chapter. 


North Carolina — Difficulties of its Invasion — Character of the Peo- 
ple and Country — Sumter, his Character and Story — Rocky 
Mount — Hanging Rock — Slow Advance of De Kalb— Gates 
takes Command — Desolate March — Battle of Camden — Flight 
of Gates — Sumter surprised by Tarleton at the Waxhaws — 
Washington's Opinion of Militia — His Letter to Gates 

Lord Cornwallis, when left in military command at 
the South by Sir Henry Clinton, was charged, it will be 
recollected, with the invasion of North Carolina. It was 
an enterprise in which much difficulty was to be appre- 
hended, both from the character of the people and the coun- 
try. The original settlers were from various parts, most of 
them men who had experienced political or religious oppres- 
sion, and had brought with them a quick sensibility to 
wrong, a stern appreciation of their rights, and an indomi- 
table spirit of freedom and independence. In the heart of 
the State was a hardy Presbyterian stock, the Scotch Irish, 

Vol. XIV.— ***15 

338 U/orl^s of U/asl?iQ<$toi) Iruino; 

as they were called, having emigrated from Scotland to Ire- 
land, and thence to America; and who were said to possess 
the impulsiveness of the Irishman, with the dogged resolu- 
tion of the Covenanter. 

The early history of the colony abounds with instances 
of this spirit among its people. "They always behaved inso- 
lently to their governors," complains Governor Barrington 
in 1731; "some they have driven out of the country — at 
other times they set up a government of their own choice, 
supported by men under arms." It was in fact the spirit 
of popular liberty and self-government which stirred within 
them and gave birth to the glorious axiom : 4 ' The rights of 
the many against the exactions of the few." So ripe was 
this spirit at an early day, that when the boundary line was 
run, in 1727, between North Carolina and Virginia, the bor- 
derers were eager to be included within the former province, 
"as there they paid no tribute to God or Csesar." 

It was this spirit which gave rise to the confederacy, 
called the Regulation, formed to withstand the abuses of 
power; and the first blood shed in our country, in resistance 
to arbitrary taxation, was at Almance in this province, in a 
conflict between the regulators and Governor Tryon. Above 
all, it should never be forgotten that at Mecklenburg, in the 
heart of North Carolina, was fulminated the first declaration 
of independence of the British crown, upward of a year 
before a like declaration by Congress. 

A population so characterized presented formidable diffi- 
culties to the invader. The physical difficulites arising from 
the nature of the country consisted in its mountain fast- 
nesses in the northwestern part, its vast forests, its sterile 
tracts, its long rivers, destitute of bridges, and which, though 
fordable in fair weather, were liable to be swollen by sudden 


Irving, Vol. Fourteen, p. 341. 

Cife of \JJas\)ir>$tOT) 339 

storms and freshets, and rendered deep, turbulent, and im- 
passable. These rivers, in fact, which rushed down from 
the mountain, but wound sluggishly through the plains, 
were the military strength of the countr} T , as we shall have 
frequent occasion to show in the course of our narrative. 

Lord Cornwallis forbore to attempt the invasion of North 
Carolina until the summer heats should be over and the 
harvests gathered in. In the meantime he disposed of his 
troops in cantonments, to cover the frontiers of South Caro- 
lina and Georgia, and maintain their internal quiet. The 
command of the frontiers was given by him to Lord Raw- 
don, who made Camden his principal post. This town, the 
capital of Kershaw District, a fertile, fruitful country, was 
situated on the east bank of the "Wateree River, on the road 
leading to North Carolina. It was to be the grand military 
depot for the projected campaign. 

Having made these dispositions, Lord Cornwallis set up 
his headquarters at Charleston, where he occupied himself 
in regulating the civil and commercial affairs of the province, 
in organizing the militia of the lower districts, and in for- 
warding provisions and munitions of war to Camden. 

The proclamation of Sir Henry Clinton, putting an end 
to all neutrality, and the rigorous penalties and persecutions 
with which all infractions of its terms were punished, had 
for a time quelled the spirit of the country. By degrees, 
however, the dread of British power gave way to impatience 
of British exactions. Symptoms of revolt manifested them- 
selves in various parts. They were encouraged by intelli- 
gence that De Kalb, sent by "Washington, was advancing 
through North Carolina, at the head of two thousand men, 
and that the militia of that State and of Virginia were join- 
ing his standard. This was soon followed by tidings that 

340 U/orl^s of U/asfyi^toi) Iruio<$ 

Gates, the conqueror of Burgoyne, was on his way to take 
command of the Southern forces. 

The prospect of such aid from the North reanimated the 
Southern patriots. One of the most eminent of these was 
Thomas Sumter, whom the Carolinians had surnamed the 
Game Cock. He was between forty and fifty years of age, 
brave, hardy, vigorous, resolute. He had served against 
the Indians in his boyhood, during the old French War, and 
had been present at the defeat of Braddock. In the present 
war he had held the rank of lieutenant-colonel of riflemen 
in the Continental line. After the fall of Charleston, when 
patriots took refuge in contiguous States, or in the natural 
fastnesses of the country, he had retired with his family into 
one of the latter. 

The lower part of South Carolina for upward of a hundred 
miles back from the sea is a level country, abounding with 
swamps, locked up in the windings of the rivers which flow 
down from the Appalachian Mountains. Some of these 
swamps are mere canebrakes, of little use until subdued by 
cultivation, when they yield abundant crops of rice. Others 
are covered with forests of cypress, cedar, and laurel, green all 
the year and odoriferous, but tangled with vines and almost 
impenetrable. In their bosoms, however, are fine savannas; 
natural lawns, open to cultivation, and yielding abundant 
pasturage. It requires local knowledge, however, to pene- 
trate these wildernesses, and heme they form strongholds to 
the people of the country. In one of these natural fastnesses 
on the borders of the Santee, Sumter had taken up his resi- 
dence, and hence he would sally forth in various directions. 
During a temporary absence his retreat had been invaded, 
his house burned to the ground, his wife and children driven 
forth without shelter. Private injury had thus been added 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$toi7 341 

to the incentives of patriotism. Emerging from his hiding- 
place, he had thrown himself among a handful of fellow- 
sufferers who had taken refuge in North Carolina. They 
chose him at once as a leader, and resolved on a desperate 
struggle for the deliverance of their native State. Destitute 
of regular weapons, they forged rude substitutes out of the 
implements of husbandry. Old millsaws were converted 
into broadswords; knives at the ends of poles served for 
lances while the country housewives gladly gave up their 
pewter dishes and other utensils to be melted down and cast 
into bullets for such as had firearms. 

When Sumter led this gallant band of exiles over the 
border they did not amount in number to two hundred ; yet, 
with these, he attacked and routed a well-armed body of 
British troops and tories, the terror of the frontier. His 
followers supplied themselves with weapons from the slain. 
In a little while his band was augmented by recruits. Par- 
ties of militia, also, recently embodied under the compelling 
measures of Cornwallis, deserted to the patriot standard. 
Thus re-enforced to the amount of six hundred men, he 
made, on the 30th of July, a spirited attack on the British 
post at Rocky Mount, near the Catawba, but was repulsed. 
A more successful attack was made by him, eight days after 
ward, on another post at Hanging Rock. The Prince of 
Wales regiment which defended it was nearly annihilated, 
and a large body of North CaroliDa loyalists, under Colonel 
Brian, was routed and dispersed. The gallant exploits of 
Sumter were emulated in other parts of the country, and the 
partisan war thus commenced was carried on with an au- 
dacity that soon obliged the enemy to call in their outposts 
and collect their troops in large masses. 

The advance of De Kalb with re-enforcements from the 

342 U/or^s of U/asl?ii}<$toi) IrvfQo; 

North had been retarded by various difficulties, the most 
important of which was want of provisions. This had been 
especially the case, he said, since his arrival in North Caro- 
lina. The legislative or executive power, he complained, 
gave him no assistance, nor could he obtain supplies from 
the people but by military force. There was no flour in the 
camp, nor were dispositions made to furnish any. His troops 
were reduced for a time to short allowance, and at length, 
on the 6th of July, brought to a positive halt at Deep River.* 
The North Carolina militia, under General Caswell, were 
already in the field, on the road to Camden, beyond the 
Pedee River. He was anxious to form a junction with 
them, and with some Virginia troops, under Colonel Porter- 
field, relics of the defenders of Charleston ; but a wide and 
sterile region lay between him and them, difficult to be 
traversed, unless magazines were established in advance, or 
he were supplied with provisions to take with him. Thus 
circumstanced, he wrote to Congress and to the State Legis- 
lature, representing his situation and entreating relief. For 
three weeks he remained in this encampment, foraging an 
exhausted country for a meager subsistence, and was think- 
ing of deviating to the right, and seeking the fertile counties 
of Mecklenburg and Rowan, when, on the 25th of July, 
General Gates arrived at the camp. 

The baron greeted him with a Continental salute from his 
little park of artillery, and received him with the ceremony 
and deference due to a superior officer who was to take the 
command. There was a contest of politeness between the 
two generals. Gates approved of De Kalb's standing orders, 

* A branch of Cape Fear River. The aboriginal name 

Cife of Wastyvqtor) 343 

but at the first review of the troops, to the great astonish- 
ment of the baron, gave orders for them to hold themselves 
in readiness to march at a moment's ivarning. It was evi- 
dent he meant to signalize himself by celerity of movement 
in contrast with protracted delays. 

It was in vain the destitute situation of the troops was 
represented to him, and that they had not a day's provision 
in advance. His reply was, that wagons laden with supplies 
were coming on, and would overtake them in two days. 

On the 27th, he actually put the army in motion over the 
Buffalo Ford, on the direct road to Camden. Colonel Wil- 
liams, the adjutant-general of De Kalb, warned him of the 
sterile nature of that route, and recommended a more circui- 
tous one further north, which the baron had intended to take, 
and which passed through the abundant county of Mecklen- 
burg. Gates persisted in taking the direct route, observing 
that he should the sooner form a junction with Caswell and 
the North Carolina militia ; and as to the sterility of the 
country, his supplies would soon overtake him. 

The route proved all that had been represented. It led 
through a region of pine barrens, sand hills, and swamps, 
with few human habitations, and those mostly deserted. 
The supplies of which he had spoken never overtook him. 
His army had to subsist itself on lean cattle, roaming almost 
wild in the woods; and to supply the want of bread with 
green Indian corn, unripe apples, and peaches. The con- 
sequence was a distressing prevalence of dysentery. 

Having crossed the Pedee River on the 3d of August, 
the army was joined by a handful of brave Virginia regu 
lars, under Lieutenant-colonel Porterfield, who had been 
wandering about the country since the disaster of Charles- 
ton; and, on the 6th, the much-desired junction took place 

344 Worlds of U/as^ir)<$tor> Iruir;$ 

with the North Carolina militia. On the 13th they encamped 
at Bugeley's Mills, otherwise called Clermont, about twelve 
miles from Camden, and on the following day were re-en- 
forced by a brigade of seven hundred Virginia militia, under 
General Stevens. 

On the approach of Gates, Lord Rawdon had concen- 
trated his forces at Camden. The post was flanked by the 
Wateree River and Pinetree Creek, and strengthened with 
redoubts. Lord Cornwallis had hastened hither from Charles- 
ton on learning that affairs in this quarter were drawing to 
a crisis, and had arrived here on the 13th. The British 
effective force thus collected was something more than two 
thousand, including officers. About five hundred were 
militia and tory refugees from North Carolina. 

The forces under Gates, according to the return of his 
adjutant-general, were three thousand and fifty- two fit for 
duty; more than two-thirds of them, however, were militia. 

On the 14th, he received an express from General Sumter, 
who, with his partisan corps, after harassing the enemy at 
various points, was now endeavoring to cut off their supplies 
from Charleston. The object of the express was to ask a 
re-enforcement of regulars to aid him in capturing a large 
convoy of clothing, ammunition and stores on its way to the 
garrison, and which would pass Wateree Ferry, about a mile 
from Camden. 

Gates accordingly detached Colonel Woodford of the 
Maryland line, with one hundred regulars, a party of artil- 
lery, and two brass field-pieces. On the same evening he 
moved with his main force to take post at a deep stream 
about seven miles from Camden, intending to attack Lord 
Rawdon or his redoubts should he march out in force to 
repel Sumter. 

Cife of \JJas\)'iT)QtoT) 345 

It seems hardly credible that Gates should have been 
so remiss in collecting information concerning the move- 
ments of his enemy as to be utterly unaware that Lord 
Cornwallis had arrived at Camden. Such, however, we 
are assured, by his adjutant-general, was the fact.* 

By a singular coincidence, Lord Cornwallis on the very 
same evening sallied forth from Camden to attack the 
American camp at Clermont. 

About two o'clock at night, the two forces blundered, as 
it were, on each other about half way. A skirmish took 
place between their advanced guards, in which Porterfield 
of the Virginia regulars was mortally wounded. Some pris- 
oners were taken on either side. From these the respective 
commanders learned the nature of the forces each had stum- 
bled upon. Both halted, formed their troops for action, but 
deferred further hostilities until daylight. 

Gates was astounded at being told that the enemy at hand 
was Cornwallis with three thousand men. Calling a council 
of war, he demanded what was best to be done. For a mo- 
ment or two there was blank silence. It was broken by 
General Stevens of the Virginia militia, with the significant 
question, "Gentlemen, is it not too late now to do anything 
but fight?" No other advice was asked or offered, and all 
were required to repair to their respective commands,! 
though General de Kalb, we are told, was of opinion that 
they should regain their position at Clermont and there 
await an attack. 

In forming the line, the first Maryland division, including 
the Delawares, was on the right, commanded by De Kalb. 

* Narrative of Adjutant-general Williams, 
t Idem. 

546 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir/<$toi) Iruii)©, 

The Virginia militia, under Stevens, were on the left. Cas- 
well, with the North Carolinians, formed the center. The 
artillery was in battery on the road. Each flank was covered 
by a marsh. The second Maryland brigade formed a reserve 
a few hundred yards in rear of the first. 

At daybreak (Aug. 16th), the enemy were dimly descried 
advancing in column; they appeared to be displaying to the 
right. The deputy adjutant-general ordered the artillery 
to open a fire upon them, and then rode to General Gates, 
who was in the rear of the line, to inform him of the cause 
of the firing. Gates ordered that Stevens should advance 
briskly with his brigade of Virginia militia and attack them 
while in the act of displaying. No sooner did Stevens re- 
ceive the order than he put his brigade in motion, but discov- 
ered that the right wing of the enemy was already in line. 
A few sharpshooters were detached to run forward, post 
themselves behind trees within forty or fifty yards of the 
enemy to extort their fire while at a distance, and render 
it less terrible to the militia. The expedient failed. The 
British rushed on shouting and firing. Stevens called to his 
„ men to stand firm, and put tnem in mind of their bayonets. 
His words were unheeded. The inexperienced militia, dis- 
mayed and confounded by this impetuous assault, threw 
down their loaded muskets and fled. The panic spread to 
the North Carolina militia. Part of them made a temporary 
stand, but soon joined with the rest in flight, rendered head- 
long and disastrous by the charge and pursuit of Tarleton 
and his cavalry. 

Gates, seconded by his officers, made several attempts to 
rally the militia, but was borne along with them. The day 
was hazy; there was no wind to carry off the smoke, which 
hung over the field of battle like a thick cloud. Nothing 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$t:oo 347 

could be seen distinctly. Supposing that the regular troops 
were dispersed like the militia, Gates gave all up for lost 
and retreated from the field. 

The regulars, however, had not given way. The Mary- 
land brigades and the Delaware regiment, unconscious that 
they were deserted by the militia, stood their ground, and 
bore the brunt of the battle. Though repeatedly broken, 
they as often rallied, and braved even the deadly push of 
the bayonet. At length a charge of Tarleton's cavalry on 
their flank threw them into confusion and drove them into 
the woods and swamps. None showed more gallantry on 
this disastrous day than the Baron de Kalb ; he fought on 
foot with the second Maryland brigade, and fell exhausted, 
after receiving eleven wounds. His aid-de-camp, De Buys- 
son, supported him in his arms, and was repeatedly wounded 
in protecting him. He announced the rank and nation of 
his general, and both were taken prisoners. De Kalb died 
in the course of a few days, dictating in his last moments a 
letter expressing his affection for the officers and men of his 
division who had so nobly stood by him in this deadly strife. 

If the militia fled too soon in this battle, said the adju- 
tant-general, the regulars remained too long; fighting when 
there was no hope of victory.* 

General Gates in retreating had hoped to rally a suffi 
cient force at Clermont to cover the retreat of the regulars, 
but the further they fled the more the militia were dispersed, 
until the generals were abandoned by all but their aids. To 
add to the mortification of Gates, he learned, in the course 
of his retreat, that Sumter had been completely successful, 
and having reduced the enemy's redoubt on the "Wateree, 

* Williams' Narrative. 

348 U/orl^s of ll/asf?ir)$toi? Irving 

and captured one hundred prisoners and forty loaded wag- 
ons, was marching off with his booty on the opposite side of 
the river; apprehending danger from the quarter in which 
he had heard firing in the morning. 

Gates had no longer any means of co-operating with him ; 
he sent orders to him, therefore, to retire in the best manner 
he could; while he himself proceeded with General Caswell 
toward the village of Charlotte, about sixty miles distant. 

Cornwallis was apprehensive that Sumter's corps might 
form a rallying point to the routed army. On the morning 
of the 17th of August, therefore, he detached Tarleton in 
pursuit with a body of cavalry and light infantry, about 
three hundred and fifty strong. Sumter was retreating up 
the western side of the "Wateree, much encumbered by his 
spoils and prisoners. Tarleton pushed up by forced and con- 
cealed marches on the eastern side. Horses and men suf- 
fered from the intense heat of the weather. At dusk Tarle- 
ton descried the fires of the American camp about a mile 
from the opposite shore. He gave orders to secure all boats 
on the river and to light no fire in the camp In the morn- 
ing his sentries gave word that the Americans were quitting 
their encampment. It was evident they knew nothing of a 
British force being in pursuit of them. Tarleton now crossed 
the Wateree ; the infantry, with a three-pounder, passed in 
boats ; the cavalry swam their horses where the river was 
not fordable. The delay in crossing, and the diligence of 
Sumter's march, increased the distance between the pursuers 
and the pursued. About noon a part of Tarleton J s force 
gave out through heat and fatigue. Leaving them to re- 
pose on the bank of Fishing Creek, he pushed on with about 
one hundred dragoons, the freshest and most able; still 
marching with great circumspection. As he entered a val- 

Cife of U/asr;ir;$tor> 349 

ley, a discharge of small -arms from a thicket tumbled a 
dragoon from his saddle. His comrades galloped up to the 
place and found two American videttes, whom they sabered 
before Tarleton could interpose. A sergeant and five dra- 
goons rode up to the summit of a neighboring hill to recon- 
noiter. Crouching on their horses, they made signs to Tarle- 
ton. He cautiously approached the crest of the hill, and 
looking over beheld the American camp on a neighboring 
height, and apparently in a most negligent condition. 

Sumter, in fact, having pressed his retreat to the neigh- 
borhood of the Catawba Ford, and taken a strong position 
at the mouth of Pishing Creek, and his patrols having 
scoured the road without having discovered any signs of an 
enemy, considered himself secure from surprise. The two 
shots fired by his videttes had been heard, but were supposed 
to have been made by militia shooting cattle. The troops 
having for the last four days been almost without food or 
sleep, were now indulged in complete relaxation. Their 
arms were stacked, and they were scattered about, some 
strolling, some lying on the grass under the trees, some bath- 
ing in the river. Sumter himself had thrown off part of his 
clothes on account of the heat of the weather. 

Having well reconnoitered this negligent camp, indulg- 
ing in summer supineness and sultry repose, Tarleton pre- 
pared for instant attack. His cavalry and infantry, formed 
into one line, dashed forward with a general shout, and, be- 
fore the Americans could recover from their surprise, got 
between them and the parade ground on which the muskets 
were stacked. 

All was confusion and consternation in the American 
camp. Some opposition was made from behind baggage 
wagons, and there was skirmishing in various quarters, but 

350 U/orl^s of U/asl?iQ<$t09 Irvine; 

in a little while there was a universal flight to the river anG 
the woods. Between three and four hundred were killed 
and wounded ; all their arms and baggage, with two brass 
field-pieces, fell into the hands of the enemy, who also re- 
captured the prisoners and booty taken at Camden. Sumter, 
with about three hundred and fifty of his men, effected a re- 
treat ; he galloped off, it is said, without saddle, hat or coat. 

Gates, on reaching the village of Charlotte, had been 
joined by some fugitives from his army. He continued on 
to Hillsborough, one hundred and eighty miles from Cam- 
den, where he made a stand and endeavored to rally his 
scattered forces. His regular troops, however, were little 
more than one thousand. As to the militia of North and 
South Carolina, they had dispersed to their respective homes, 
depending upon the patriotism and charity of the farmers 
along the road for food and shelter. 

It was not until the beginning of September that Wash- 
ington received word of the disastrous reverse at Camden. 
The shock was the greater, as previous reports from that 
quarter had represented the operations a few days preceding 
the action as much in our favor. It was evident to Wash- 
ington that the course of war must ultimately tend to the 
Southern States, yet the situation of affairs in the North did 
not permit him to detach any sufficient force for their relief. 
All that he could do for the present was to endeavor to hold 
the enemy in check in that quarter. For this purpose, he 
gave orders that some regular troops, enlisted in Maryland 
for the war, and intended for the main army, should be sent 
to the southward. He wrote to Governor Rutledge of South 
Carolina (12th September), to raise a permanent, compact, 
well-organized body of troops, instead of depending upon a 
numerous army of militia, always " inconceivably expensive 

Cife of U/a&l?ii)<$tor) 351 

and too fluctuating and undisciplined" to oppose a regular 
force. He was still more urgent and explicit on this head 
in his letters to the President of Congress (September 15th). 
''Regular troops alone," said he, "are equal to the exigencies 
of modern war, as well for defense as offense; and whenever 
a substitute is attempted, it must prove illusory and ruinous. 
No militia will ever acquire the habits . necessary to resist a 
regular force. The firmness requisite for the real business 
of fighting is only, to be attained by a constant course of dis- 
cipline and service. I have never yet been witness to a sin- 
gle instance that can justify a different opinion ; and it is 
most earnestly to be wished that the liberties of America 
may no longer be trusted, in any material degree, to so pre- 
carious a dependence. ... In my ideas of the true system 
of war at the southward, the object ought to be to have a 
good army, rather than a large one. Every exertion should 
be made by North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Dela- 
ware to raise a permanent force of six thousand men, exclu- 
sive of horse and artillery. These, with the occasional aid 
of the militia in the vicinity of the scene of action, will not 
only suffice to prevent the further progress of the enemy, 
but, if properly supplied, to oblige them to compact their 
force and relinquish a part of what they now hold. To ex- 
pel them from the country entirely is what we cannot aim 
at, till we derive more effectual support from abroad; and 
by attempting too much, instead of going forward, we shall 
go backward. Could such a force be once set on foot, it 
would immediately make an inconceivable change in the 
face of affairs not only in the opposition to the enemy, but 
in expense, consumption of provisions, and waste of arms 
and stores. No magazines can be equal to the demands of 
an army of militia, and none need economy more than ours." 

353 U/or^s of U/asF?in$ton Irvlpo; 

He had scarce written the foregoing, when he received a 
letter from the now unfortunate Gates, dated at Hillsbor- 
ough, August 30th and September 3d, giving particulars of 
his discomfiture. No longer vaunting and vainglorious, he 
pleads nothing but his patriotism, and deprecates the fall 
which he apprehends awaits him. The appeal which he 
makes to Washington's magnanimity to support him in this 
day of his reverse is the highest testimonial he could give to 
the exalted character of the man whom he once affected to 
underrate, and aspired to supplant, 

" Anxious for the public good," said he, "I shall continue 
my unwearied endeavors to stop the progress of the enemy, 
reinstate our affairs, recommence an offensive war, and re- 
cover all our losses in the Southern States. But if being un- 
fortunate is solely a reason sufficient for removing me from 
command, I shall most cheerfully submit to the orders of 
Congress, and resign an office which few generals would be 
anxious to possess, and where the utmost skill and fortitude 
are subject to be baffled by difficulties which must for a time 
surround the chief in command here. That your Excellency 
may meet with no such difficulties, that your road to fame 
and fortune may be smooth and easy, is the sincere wish of 
your most humble servant." 

Again: "If I can yet render good service to the United 
States, it will be necessary it should be seen that I have the 
support of Congress, and of your Excellency; otherwise, 
some men may think they please my superiors by blaming 
me, and thus recommend themselves to favor. But you, sir, 
will be too generous to lend an ear to such men, if such there 
be, and will show your greatness of soul rather by protect- 
ing than slighting the unfortunate." 

Washington, in his reply, while he acknowledged the 

Cife of U/asI?ii}$toi} 353 

shock and surprise caused by the first account of the unex- 
pected event, did credit to the behavior of the Continental 
troops. "The accounts," added he, "which the enemy give 
of the action, show that their victory was dearly bought. 
Under present circumstances, the system which you are pur- 
suing seems to be extremely proper. It would add no good 
purpose to take a position near the enemy while you are so 
far inferior in force. If they can be kept in check by the 
light irregular troops under Colonel Sumter and other active 
officers, they will gain nothing by the time which must be 
necessarily spent by you in collecting and arranging the new 
army, forming magazines, and replacing the stores which 
were lost in the action." 

Washington still cherished the idea of a combined attack 
upon New York as soon as a French naval force should ar- 
rive. The destruction of the enemy here would relieve this 
part of the Union from an internal war, and enable its troops 
and resources to be united with those of France in vigorous 
efforts against the common enemy elsewhere. Hearing, 
therefore, that the Count de Guichen, with his West Indian 
squadron, was approaching the coast, Washington prepared 
to proceed to Hartford, in Connecticut, there to hold a con- 
ference with the Count de Rochambeau and the Chevalier 
de Ternay, and concert a plan for future operations, of 
which the attack on New York was to form the principal 

S54 U/or^s of U/a8t?ii7<$too Iruip^ 


Treason of Arnold — His Correspondence with the Enemy — His Ne- 
gotiations with Andre — Parting Scene with Washington — Mid- 
night Conference on the Banks of the Hudson — Return of An- 
dre by Land — Circumstances of his Capture 

"We have now to enter upon a sad episode of our Revo- 
lutionary history — the treason of Arnold. Of the military 
skill, daring enterprise and indomitable courage of this 
man — ample evidence has been given in the foregoing 
pages. Of the implicit confidence reposed in his patriot- 
ism by "Washington, sufficient proof is manifested in the 
command with which he was actually intrusted. But Ar- 
nold was false at heart, and, at the very time of seeking 
that command, had been for many months in traitorous 
correspondence with the enemy. 

The first idea of proving recreant to the cause he had vin- 
dicated so bravely appears to have entered his mind when 
the charges preferred against him by the council of Pennsyl- 
vania were referred by Congress to a court-martial. Before 
that time he had been incensed against Pennsylvania; but 
now his wrath was excited against his country, which ap- 
peared so insensible to his services. Disappointment in re- 
gard to the settlement of his accounts added to his irritation, 
and mingled sordid motives with his resentment ; and he be- 
gan to think how, while he wreaked his vengeance on his 
country, he might do it with advantage to his fortunes. 
With this view he commenced a correspondence with Sir 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi) 355 

Henry Clinton in a disguised handwriting, and under the 
signature of Gustavus, representing himself as a person of 
importance in the American service, who, being dissatisfied 
with the late proceedings of Congress, particularly the alli- 
ance with France, was desirous of joining the cause of Great 
Britain, could he be certain of personal security and indemni- 
fication for whatever loss of property he might sustain. His 
letters occasionally communicated articles of intelligence of 
some moment which proved to be true and induced Sir Henry 
to keep up the correspondence; which was conducted on his 
part by his aid- de-camp, Major John Andre, likewise in a 
disguised hand, and under the signature of John Anderson. 

Months elapsed before Sir Henry discovered who was his 
secret correspondent. Even after discovering it he did not 
see fit to hold out any very strong inducements to Arnold 
for desertion. The latter was out of command, and had 
nothing to offer but his services; which in his actual situ- 
ation were scarcely worth buying. 

In the meantime, the circumstances of Arnold were daily 
becoming more desperate. Debts were accumulating, and 
creditors becoming more and more importunate, as his means 
to satisfy them decreased. The public reprimand he had re- 
ceived was rankling in his mind and filling his heart with 
bitterness. Still he hesitated on the brink of absolute in- 
famy, and attempted a half-way leap. Such was his propo- 
sition to M. de Luzerne to make himself subservient to the 
policy of the French government, on condition of receiving a 
loan equal to the amount of his debts. This he might have 
reconciled to his conscience by the idea that France was an 
ally, and its policy likely to be friendly. It was his last card 
before resorting to utter treachery. Failing in it, his des- 
perate alternative was to get sonic important command, 

356 U/orKs of U/asl^ip^toi) Iruii)$ 

the betrayal of which to the enemy might obtain for him a 
munificent reward. 

He ma}- possibly have had such an idea in his mind some 
time previously, when he sought the command of a naval 
and military expedition, which failed to be carried into effect ; 
but such certainly was the secret of his eagerness to obtain 
the command of West Point, the great object of British and 
American solicitude, on the possession of which were sup- 
posed by many to hinge the fortunes of the war. 

He took command of the post and its dependencies about 
the beginning of August, fixing his headquarters at Bever- 
ley, a country-seat a little below West Point, on the opposite 
or eastern side of the river. It stood in a lonely part of the 
Highlands, high up from the river, yet at the foot of a moun- 
tain covered with woods. It was commonly called the Rob- 
inson House, having formerly belonged to Washington's 
early friend, Colonel Beverley Robinson, who had obtained 
a large part of the Philipse estate in this neighborhood by 
marrying one of the heiresses. Colonel Robinson was a 
royalist; had entered into the British service, and was now 
residing in New York, and Beverley with its surrounding 
lands had been confiscated. 

From this place Arnold carried on a secret correspond- 
ence with Major Andre. Their letters, still in disguised 
hands, and under the names of Gustavus and John Ander- 
son, purported to treat merely of commercial operations, but 
the real matter in negotiation was the betrayal of West 
Point and the Highlands to Sir Henry Clinton. This stu- 
pendous piece of treachery was to be consummated at the 
time when Washington, with the main body of his army, 
would be drawn down toward King's Bridge, and the French 
troops landed on Long Island, in the projected co-operation 

Cife of \I/as\)iT)$tOT) 35? 

against New York. At such time a flotilla, under Rodney, 
having on board a large land force, was to ascend the Hud- 
son to the Highlands, which would be surrendered by Ar- 
nold almost without opposition, under pretext of insufficient 
force to make resistance. The immediate result of this sur- 
render, it was anticipated, would be the defeat of the com- 
bined attempt upon New York ; and its ultimate effect might 
be the dismemberment of the Union, and the dislocation of 
the whole American scheme of warfare. 

We have before had occasion to mention Major Andre, 
but the part which he took in this dark transaction, and the 
degree of romantic interest subsequently thrown around his 
memory, call for a more specific notice of him. He was 
born in London, in 1751, but his parents were of Geneva, in 
Switzerland, where he was educated. Being intended for 
mercantile life, he entered a London counting-house, but 
had scarce attained his eighteenth year when he formed a 
romantic attachment to a beautiful girl, Miss Honora Sneyd, 
by whom his passion was returned, and they became en- 
gaged. This sadly unfitted him for the sober routine of the 
counting-house. "All my mercantile calculations," writes he 
in one of his boyish letters, "go to the tune of dear Honora. " 

The father of the young lady interfered, and the prema- 
ture match was broken off. Andre abandoned the counting- 
house and entered the army. His first commission was dated 
March 4, 1771 ; but he subsequently visited Germany, and re- 
turned to England in 1773, still haunted by his early passion. 
His lady love, in the meantime, had been wooed by other ad- 
mirers, and in the present year became the second wife of 
Richard Lovell Edgeworth, a young widower of twenty-six.* 

* Father, by his first marriage, of the celebrated Maria 

358 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^tor) Irvipo; 

Andre came to America in 1774, as lieutenant of the 
Royal English Fusileers; and was among the officers capt- 
ured at St. John's, early in the war, by Montgomery. He 
still bore about with him a memento of his boyish passion, the 
"dear talisman," as he called it, a miniature of Miss Sneyd 
painted by himself in 1769. In a letter to a friend, soon 
after his capture, he writes, "I have been taken prisoner by 
the Americans, and stripped of everything except the picture 
of Honora, which I concealed in my mouth. Preserving 
that, I yet think myself fortunate." 

His temper, however, appears to have been naturally 
light and festive; and if he still cherished this "tender re- 
membrance," it was but as one of those documents of early 
poetry and romance which serve to keep the heart warm 
and tender among the gay and cold realities of life. What 
served to favor the idea was a little song which he had com- 
posed when in Philadelphia, commencing with the lines, 

"Return enraptured hours 

When Delia's heart was mine"; 

and which was supposed to breathe the remembrance of his 
early ill-requited passion.* 

His varied and graceful talents, and his engaging man- 
ners, rendered him generally popular; while his devoted and 
somewhat subservient loyalty recommended him to the favor 
of his commander, and obtained him, without any distin- 
guished military services, the appointment of adjutant-gen- 
eral with the rank of major. He was a prime promoter of 
elegant amusement in camp and garrison; manager, actor, 
and scene painter in those amateur theatricals in which the 

* Composed at the request of Miss Rebecca Redman. 

Cife of U/a8f?ii)<$tor) 359 

British officers delighted. He was one of the principal de- 
visers of the Mischianza in Philadelphia 3 in which semi- 
effeminate pageant he had figured as one of the knights 
champions of beauty; Miss Shippen, afterward Mrs. Arnold, 
being the lady whose peerless charms he undertook to vin- 
dicate. He held, moreover, a facile, and, at times, satirical 
pen, and occasionally amused himself with caricaturing in 
rhyme the appearance and exploits of the " rebel officers." 

Andre had already employed that pen in a furtive man- 
ner, after the evacuation of Philadelphia by the British; 
having carried on a correspondence with the leaders of a 
body of loyalists near the waters of the Chesapeake, who 
were conspiring to restore the royal government.* In the 
present instance he had engaged, nothing loth, in a service 
of intrigue a^:d maneuver which, however sanctioned by 
military uf o, should hardly have invited the zeal of a 
high-mindec'. man. We say maneuver, because he appears 
to have availed himself of his former intimacy with Mrs. 
Arnold to make her an unconscious means of facilitating a 
correspondence with her husband. Some have inculpated 
her in the guilt of the transaction, but we think unjustly. 
It has been alleged that a correspondence had been going on 
between her and Andre previous to her marriage, and was 
kept up after it; but, as far as we can learn, only one letter 
passed between them, written by Andre in August 16, 1779, 
in which he solicits her remembrance, assures her that re- 
spect for her and the fair circle in which he had become ac- 
quainted with her remains unimpaired by distance or polit- 
ical broils, reminds her that the Mischianza had made him a 
complete milliner, and offers her his services to furnish her 

* Simcoe's Military Journal, pp. 153, 154. 

360 U/ork;8 of U/as^ir>^t09 Iruirp^ 

with supplies in that department. " I shall be glad," adds 
he sportively, "to enter into the whole detail of cap wire, 
needles, gauze, etc., and to the best of my abilities render 
you, in these trifles, services from which I hope you would 
infer a zeal to be further employed." The apparent object 
of this letter was to open a convenient medium of commu- 
nication, which Arnold might use without exciting her 

Various circumstances connected with this nefarious ne- 
gotiation argue lightness of mind and something of debasing 
alloy on the part of Andre. The correspondence, carried on 
for months in the jargon of traffic, savored less of the camp 
than the counting-house ; the protracted i ampering with a 
brave but necessitous man for the sacrifice of his fame and 
the betrayal of his trust, strikes us as beiag beneath the 
range of a truly chivalrous nature. 

Correspondence had now done its part in the business; 
for the completion of the plan and the adjustment of the 
traitor's recompense a personal meeting was necessary be- 
tween Arnold and Andre. The former proposed that it 
should take place at his own quarters at the Robinson 
House, where Andre should come in disguise, as a bearer 
of intelligence, and under the feigned name of John Ander- 
son. Andre positively objected to entering the American 
lines; it was arranged, therefore, that the meeting should 
take place on neutral ground, near the American outposts, 
at Dobbs' Ferry, on the 11th of September, at twelve o'clock. 
Andre attended at the appointed place and time, accom- 
panied by Colonel Beverley Robinson, who was acquainted 
with the plot. An application of the latter for the restora- 
tion of his confiscated property in the Highlands seemed to 
have been used occasionally as a blind in these proceedings. 

Cife of U/asr;in<$ton 361 

Arnold had passed the preceding night at what was called 
the "White House, the residence of Mr. Joshua Hett Smith, 
situated on the west side of the Hudson in Haverstraw Bay, 
about two miles below Stony Point. He set off thence in his 
barge for the place of rendezvous; but, not being protected 
by a flag, was fired upon and pursued by the British guard- 
boats stationed near Dobbs' Ferry. He took refuge at an 
American post on the western shore, whence he returned in 
the night to his quarters in the Robinson House. Lest his ex- 
pedition should occasion some surmise, he pretended, in a note 
to "Washington, that he had been down the Hudson to arrange 
signals in case of any movement of the enemy upon the river. 

New arrangements were made for an interview, but it 
was postponed until "Washington should depart for Hartford, 
to hold the proposed conference with Count Rochambeau and 
the other French officers. In the meantime, the British sloop 
of war "Vulture" anchored a few miles below Teller's Point, 
to be at hand in aid of the negotiation. On board was Colo- 
nel Robinson, who, pretending to believe that General Put- 
nam still commanded in the Highlands, addressed a note to 
him requesting an interview on the subject of his confiscated 
property. This letter he sent by a flag, inclosed in one ad- 
dressed to Arnold ; soliciting of him the same boon should 
General Putnam be absent. 

On the 18th of September, "Washington, with his suite, 
crossed the Hudson to Verplanck's Point, in Arnold's barge, 
on his way to Hartford. Arnold accompanied him as far as 
Peekskill, and, on the way, laid before him, with affected 
frankness, the letter of Colonel Robinson, and asked his ad- 
vice. "Washington disapproved of any such interview, ob- 
serving that the civil authorities alone had cognizance of 
these questions of confiscated property. 

Vol. XIV.—* * * 16 

362 U/orl^s of U/asl?ip<$tor; Iruin<$ 

Arnold now openly sent a flag on board of the " Vulture," 
as if bearing a reply to the letter he had communicated to 
the commander-in-chief. By this occasion he informed 
Colonel Robinson that a person with a boat and flag would 
be alongside of the u Vulture" on the night of the 20th; and 
that any matter he might wish to communicate would be 
laid before General Washington on the following Saturday, 
when he might be expected back from Newport. 

On the faith of the information thus covertly conveyed, 
Andre proceeded up the Hudson on the 20th, and went on 
board of the " Vulture," where he found Colonel Robinson, 
and expected to meet Arnold. The latter, however, had 
made other arrangements, probably with a view to his per- 
sonal security. About half-past eleven, of a still and star- 
light night (the 21st), a boat was descried from on board, 
gliding silently along, rowed by two men with muffled oars. 
She was hailed by an officer on watch and called to account, 
A man seated in the stern gave out that they were from 
King's Ferry, bound to Dobb's Ferry. He was ordered 
alongside, and soon made his way on board. He proved to 
be Mr. Joshua Hett Smith, already mentioned, whom Ar- 
nold had prevailed upon to go on board of the "Vulture," 
and bring a person on shore who was coming from New 
York with important intelligence. He had given him "passes 
to protect him and those with him, in case he should be 
stopped, either in going or returning, by the American 
water guard, which patroled the river in whale-boats. He 
had made him the bearer of a letter addressed to Colonel 
Beverley Robinson, which was to the following purport: 
"This will be delivered to you by Mr. Smith, who will con 
duct you to a place of safety. Neither Mr. Smith nor any 
other persons shall be made acquainted with your proposals ; 

Cife of U/asl?ii?<$t:oi} 363 

if they (which I doubt not) are of such a nature that 1 can 
officially take notice of them, I shall do it with pleasure. I 
take it for granted Colonel Robinson will not propose any- 
thing that is not for the interest of the United States as well 
as of himself." All this use of Colonel Robinson's name 
was intended as a blind, should the letter be intercepted. 

Robinson introduced Andre to Smith by the name of John 
Anderson, who was to go on shore in his place (he being un- 
well), to have an interview with General Arnold. Andre 
wore a blue greatcoat which covered his uniform, and Smith 
always declared that at the time he was totally ignorant of 
his name and military character. Robinson considered this 
whole nocturnal proceeding full of peril, and would have 
dissuaded Andre, but the latter was zealous in executing his 
mission, and, embarking in the boat with Smith, was silently 
rowed to the western side of the river, about six miles below 
Stony Point. Here they landed, a little after midnight, at 
the foot of a shadowy mountain called the Long Clove; a 
solitary place, the haunt of the owl and the whip-poor-will, 
and well fitted for a treasonable conference. 

Arnold was in waiting, but standing aloof among the 
thickets, fie had come hither on horseback from Smith's 
house, about three or four miles distant, attended by one of 
Smith's servants, likewise mounted. The midnight negotia- 
tion between Andre and Arnold was carried on in darkness 
among the trees. Smith remained in the boat, and the ser- 
vant drew off to a distance with the horses. One hour after 
another passed away, when Smith approached the place of 
conference and gave warning that it was near daybreak, and 
if they lingered much longer the boat would be discovered. 

The nefarious bargain was not yet completed, and Ar- 
nold feared the sight of a boat going to the ''Vulture" might 

364 U/orl^s of U/asl?iQ$toi? Irv/r;$ 

cause suspicion. He prevailed, therefore, upon Andre to re- 
main on shore until the following night. The boat was ac- 
cordingly sent to a creek higher up the river, and Andre, 
mounting the servant's horse, set off with Arnold for Smith's 
house. The road passed through the village of Haverstraw. 
As they rode along in the dark, the voice of a sentinel de- 
manding the countersign startled Andre with the fearful 
conviction that he was within the American lines; but it 
was too late to recede. It was daybreak when they arrived 
at Smith's house. 

They had scarcely entered when the booming of cannon 
was heard from down the river. It gave Andre uneasiness, 
and with reason. Colonel Livingston, who commanded 
above at Verplanck's Point, learning that the "Vulture" 
lay within shot of Teller's Point, which divides Haverstraw 
Bay from the Tappan Sea, had sent a party with cannon to 
that point in the night, and they were now firing upon the 
sloop of war. Andre watched the cannonade with an anx- 
ious eye from an upper window in Smith's house. At one 
time he thought the "Vulture" was on fire. He was re- 
lieved from painful solicitude when he saw the vessel weigh 
anchor and drop down the river out of reach of cannon shot. 

After breakfast, the plot for the betrayal of West Point 
and its dependent posts was adjusted, and the sum agreed 
upon that Arnold was to receive, should it be successful. 
Andre was furnished with plans of the works, and explana- 
tory papers, which, at Arnold's request, he placed between 
his stockings and his feet; promising, in case of accident, 
to destroy them. 

All matters being thus arranged, Arnold prepared to re- 
turn in his own barge to his headquarters at the Robinson 
House. As the "Vulture" had shifted her ground, he sug- 

Cife of U/a8l?ii}<$t09 365 

gested to Andre a return to New York by land, as most safe 
and expeditious; the latter, however, insisted upon being 
put on board of the sloop of war on the ensuing night. Ar- 
nold consented ; but, before his departure, to provide against 
the possible necessity of a return by land, he gave Andre the 
following pass, dated from the Robinson House : 

"Permit Mr. John Anderson to pass the guards at the 
White Plains, or below, if he chooses; he being on public 
business by my direction. 

"B. Arnold, M. Genl." 

Smith also, who was to accompany him, was furnished 
with passports to proceed either by water or by land. 

' Arnold departed about ten o'clock. Andre passed a 
lonely day, casting many a wistful look toward the "Vult- 
ure." Once on board of that ship he would be safe; he 
would have fulfilled his mission ; the capture of "West Point 
would be certain, and his triumph would be complete. As 
evening approached he grew impatient, and spoke to Smith 
about departure. To his surprise he found the latter had 
made no preparation for it ; he had discharged his boatmen, 
who had gone home : in short, he refused to take him on 
board of the "Vulture." The cannonade of the morning 
had probably made him fear for his personal safety, should 
he attempt to go on board, the "Vulture" having resumed 
her exposed position. He offered, however, to cross the 
river with Andre at King's Ferry, put him in the way of 
returning to New York by land, and accompany him for 
some distance on horseback. 

Andre was in an agony at finding himself, notwithstand- 
ing all his stipulations, forced within the American lines; 

366 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi} Iruipo; 

but there seemed to be no alternative, and he prepared for 
the hazardous journey. 

He wore, as we have noted, a military coat under a long 
blue surtout ; he was now persuaded to lay it aside, and put 
on a citizen's coat of Smith's; thus adding disguise to the 
other humiliating and hazardous circumstances of the case. 

It was about sunset when Andre and Smith, attended by 
a negro servant of the latter, crossed from King's Ferry to 
Verplanck's Point. After proceeding about eight miles on 
the road toward White Plains, they were stopped between 
eight and nine o'clock, near Crompond, by a patroling party. 
The captain of it was uncommonly inquisitive and suspicious. 
The passport with Arnold's signature satisfied him. He 
warned them, however, against the danger of proceeding 
further in the night. Cow Boys from the British lines were 
scouring the country, and had recently marauded the neigh- 
borhood. Smith's fears were again excited, and Andre was 
obliged to yield to them. A bed was furnished them in a 
neighboring house, where Andre passed an anxious and rest- 
less night, under the very eye, as it were, of an American patrol. 

At daybreak he awoke Smith and hurried their depart- 
ure, and his mind was lightened of a load of care when he 
found himself out of the reach of the patrol and its inquisi- 
tive commander. 

They were now approaching that noted part of the coun- 
try, heretofore mentioned as the Neutral Ground, extending 
north and south about thirty miles, between the British and 
American lines. A beautiful region of forest-clad hills, fer- 
tile valleys, and abundant streams, but now almost desolated 
by the scourings of Skinners and Cow Boys; the former pro- 
fessing allegiance to the American cause, the latter to the 
British, but both arrant marauders. 

Cife of U/asf?ii}<$toi) 367 

One who had resided at the time in this region gives 
a sad picture of its state. Houses plundered and disman- 
tled; inclosures broken down; cattle carried away; fields 
lying waste ; the roads grass-grown ; the country mournful, 
solitary, silent — reminding one of the desolation presented 
in the song of Deborah. "In the days of Shamgar the son 
of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccu- 
pied, and the travelers walked in by-paths. The inhabitants 
of the villages ceased ; they ceased in Israel. ' ' * 

About two and a half miles from Pine's Bridge, on the 
Croton River, Andre and his companion partook of a scanty 
meal at a farmhouse which had recently been harried by the 
Cow Boys. Here they parted, Smith to return home, Andre 
to pursue his journey alone to New York. His spirits, how- 
ever, were cheerful; for, having got beyond the patrols, he 
considered the most perilous part of his route accomplished. 

About six miles beyond Pine's Bridge he came to a place 
where the road forked, the left branch leading toward White 
Plains in the interior of the country, the right inclining 
toward the Hudson. He had originally intended to take the 
left hand road, the other being said to be infested by Cow 
Boys. These, however, were not to be apprehended by him, 
as they belonged to the lower party, or British; it led, too, 
more directly to New York, so he turned down it and took 
his course along the river road. 

He had not proceeded far when, coming to a place where 
a small stream crossed the road and ran into a woody dell, a 
man stepped out from the trees, leveled a musket and brought 
him to a stand, while two other men, similarly armed, showed 
themselves prepared to second their comrade. 

* See Dwi^ht's Travels, vol. iii. 

8(58 ll/orl^s of U/a8l?ir)<$tor/ Iruir;$ 

The man who had first stepped out wore a refugee uni- 
form. At sight of it, Andre's heart leaped and he felt him- 
self secure. Losing all caution, he exclaimed eagerly: 
" Gentlemen, I hope you belong to our party?" — "What 
party?" was asked. — "The lower party," said Andre. — 
"We do," was the reply. All reserve was now at an end. 
Andre declared himself to be a British officer; that he had 
been up the country on particular business, and must not 
be detained a single moment. He drew out his watch as 
he spoke. It was a gold one, and served to prove to them 
that he was what he represented himself, gold watches being 
seldom worn in those days, excepting by persons of conse- 

To his consternation, the supposed refugee now avowed 
himself and his companions to be Americans, and told Andre 
he was their prisoner! 

It was even so. The sacking and burning of Young's 
House, and the carrying of its rustic defenders into captivity, 
had roused the spirit of the Neutral Ground. The yeomanry 
of that harassed country had turned out in parties to inter- 
cept freebooters from the British lines, who had recently 
been on the maraud, and might be returning to the city with 
their spoils. One of these parties, composed of seven men 
of the neighborhood, had divided itself. Four took post on 
a hill above Sleepy Hollow, to watch the road which crossed 
the country; the other three, John Paulding, Isaac Van 
Wart, and David Williams by name, stationed themselves 
on the road which runs parallel to the Hudson. Two of 
them were seated on the grass playing at cards to pass 
away the time, while one mounted guard. 

The one in refugee garb, who brought Andre to a stand, 
was John Paulding, a stout-hearted youngster, who, like 

Cife of U/asf?ii)$toi} 369 

most of the young men of this outraged neighborhood, had 
been repeatedly in arms to repel or resent aggressions, and 
now belonged to the militia. He had twice been captured 
and confined in the loathsome military prisons, where patriots 
suffered in New York, first in the North Dutch Church, and 
last in the noted Sugar House. Both times he had made 
his escape; the last time, only four days previous to the 
event of which we are treating. The ragged refugee coat, 
which had deceived Andre, and been the cause of his betray- 
ing himself, had been given to Paulding by one of his cap- 
tors, in exchange for a good yeoman garment of which they 
stripped him.* This slight circumstance may have produced 
the whole discovery of the treason. 

Andre was astounded at finding into what hands he had 
fallen ; and how he had betrayed himself by his heedless 
avowal. Promptly, however, recovering his self-possession, 
he endeavored to pass off his previous account of himself 
as a mere subterfuge. "A man must do anything," said 
he laughingly, "to get along." He now declared himself 
to be a Continental officer, going down to Dobbs' Ferry to 
get information from below; so saying, he drew forth and 
showed the pass of General Arnold. 

This, in the first instance, would have been sufficient; but 
his unwary tongue had ruined him. The suspicions of his 
captors were completely roused. Seizing the bridle of his 
horse, they ordered him to dismount. He warned them that 
he was on urgent business for the general, and that they 
would get themselves into trouble should they detain him. 

* Stated on the authority of Commodore Hiram Pauld- 
ing, a son of the captor, who heard it repeatedly from the 
lips of his father. 

370 U/or^s of U/a8t?ii?$toQ Iruir)<$ 

"We care not for that," was the reply, as they led him 
among the thickets on the border of the brook. 

Paulding asked whether he had any letters about him. 
He answered, no. They proceeded to search him. A mi- 
nute description is given of his dress. He wore a round hat, 
a blue surtout, a crimson close-bodied coat, somewhat faded; 
the buttonholes worked with gold, and the buttons covered 
with gold lace, a nankeen vest, and small-clothes and boots. 

They obliged him to take off his coat and vest, and found 
on him eighty dollars in Continental money, but nothing 
to warrant suspicion of anything sinister, and were disposed 
to let him proceed, when Paulding exclaimed: "Boys, I am 
not satisfied — his boots must come off." 

At this Andre changed color. His boots, he said, came 
off with difficulty, and he begged he might not be subjected 
to the inconvenience and delay. His remonstrances were 
in vain. He was obliged to sit down ; his boots were drawn 
off, and the concealed papers discovered. Hastily scanning 
them, Paulding exclaimed 3 "My God! He is a spy!' 9 

He demanded of Andre where he had gotten these papers. 

"Of a man at Pine's Bridge, a stranger to me," was the 

While dressing himself, Andre endeavored to ransom 
himself from his captors, rising from one offer to another. 
He would give any sum of money if they would let him go. 
He would give his horse, saddle, bridle, and one hundred 
guineas, and would send them to any place that might be 
fixed upon. 

Williams asked him if he would not give more. 

He replied that he would give any reward they might 
name, either in goods or money, and would remain with two 
of their party while one went to New York to get it 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor? 371 

Here Paulding broke in and declared with an oath that 
if he would give ten thousand guineas he should not stir 
one step.* 

The unfortunate Andre now submitted to his fate, and 
the captors set off with their prisoner for North Castle, the 
nearest American post, distant ten or twelve miles. They 
proceeded across a hilly and woody region, part of the way 
by the road, part across fields. One strode in front, occa- 
sionally holding the horse by the bridle, the others walked 
on either side. Andre rode on in silence, declining to answer 
further questions until he should come before a military 
officer. About noon they halted at a farmhouse where the 
inhabitants were taking their midday repast. The worthy 
house wife, moved by Andre's prepossessing appearance and 
dejected air, kindly invited him to partake. He declined, 
alleging that he had no appetite. Glancing at his gold-laced 
crimson coat, the good dame apologized for her rustic fare. 
"Oh, madam," exclaimed poor Andre with a melancholy 
shake of the head, "it is all very good — but, indeed, I can- 
not eat!" 

This was related to us by a venerable matron, who was 
present on the occasion, a young girl at the time, but who 
in her old days could not recall the scene and the appearance 
of Andre without tears. 

The captors, with their prisoner, being arrived at North 
Castle, Lieutenant-colonel Jameson, who was in command 
there, recognized the handwriting of Arnold in the papers 
found upon Andre, and, perceiving that they were of a dan- 
gerous nature, sent them off by express to General Washing 
ton, at Hartford. 

* Testimony of David Williams. 

372 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi) Iruir)$ 

Andre, still adhering to his assumed name, begged that 
the commander at West Point might be informed that John 
Anderson, though bearing his passport, was detained. 

Jameson appears completely to have lost his head on the 
occasion. He wrote to Arnold, stating the circumstances 
of the arrest, and that the papers found upon the prisoner 
had been dispatched by express to the commander-in-chief, 
and, at the same time, he sent the prisoner himself, under 
a strong guard, to accompany the letter.* 

Shortly afterward, Major Tallmadge, next in command 
to Jameson, but of a much clearer head, arrived at North 
Castle, having been absent on duty to White Plains. When 
the circumstances of the case were related to him, he at once 
suspected treachery on the part of Arnold, At his earnest 
entreaties, an express was sent after the officer who had 
Andre in charge, ordering him to bring the latter back to 
North Castle; but by singular perversity or obtuseness in 
judgment, Jameson neglected to countermand the letter 
which he had written to Arnold. 

When Andre was brought back, and was pacing up and 
down the room, Tallmadge saw at once by his air and move- 
ments, and the mode of turning on his heel, that he was a 
military man. By his advice, and under his escort, the pris- 
oner was conducted to Colonel Sheldon's post at Lower 
Salem, as more secure than North Castle. 

Here Andre, being told that the papers found upon his 
person had been forwarded to Washington, addressed to him 
immediately the following lines : 

* Sparks' Arnold. We would note generally, that we 
are indebted to Mr. Sparks' work for many particulars given 
by us of this tale of treason. 

Cife of U/asr;iD<$toQ 373 

"I beg your Excellency will be persuaded that no alteration 
in the temper of my mind, or apprehensions for my safety, in- 
duces me to take the step of addressing you ; but that it is to 
secure myself from the imputation of having assumed a mean 
character for treacherous purposes or self-interest. ... It is 
to vindicate my fame that I speak, and not to solicit security. 

"The person in your possession is Major John Andre, 
adjutant-general of the British army. 

"The influence of one commander hi the army of his ad- 
versary is an advantage taken in war. A correspondence for 
this purpose I held; as confidential (in the present instance) 
with his Excellency, Sir Henry Clinton. To favor it, I 
agreed to meet upon ground not within the posts of either 
army, a person who was to give me intelligence. I came 
up in the "Vulture" man-of-war for this effect, and was 
fetched from the sloop to the beach. Being there, I was told 
that the approach of day would prevent my return and that 
I must be concealed until the next night. I was in my regi- 
mentals, and had fairly risked my person. 

"Against my stipulation, my intention, and without my 
knowledge beforeheand, I was conducted within one of your 
posts c Thus was I betrayed into the vile condition of an 
enemy within your posts. 

"Having avowed myself a British officer, I have nothing 
to reveal but what relates to myself, which is true, on the 
honor of an officer and a gentleman. 

"The request I have made to your Excellency, and I am 
conscious that I address myself well, is, that in any rigor 
policy may dictate, a decency of conduct toward me may 
mark, that, though unfortunate, I am branded with nothing 
dishonorable ; as no motive could be mine but the service of 
my king, and as I was involuntarily an impostor." 

374 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Irvipq 

This letter he submitted to the perusal of Major Tall- 
madge, who was surprised and agitated at finding the rank 
and importance of the prisoner he had in charge. The letter 
being dispatched, and Andre's pride relieved on a sensitive 
point, he resumed his serenity, apparently unconscious of the 
awful responsibility of his situation. Having a talent for 
caricature, he even amused himself in the course of the day 
by making a ludicrous sketch of himself and his rustic escort 
under march, and presenting it to an officer in the room with 
him. "This," said he gayly, "will give you an idea of the 
style in which I have had the honor to be conducted to my 

present abode." 

_____ « 


Andre's propensity for caricature had recently been in- 
dulged in a mock heroic poem in three cantos, celebrating 
an attack upon a British picket by Wayne, with the driving 
into the American camp of a drove of cattle by Lee's dra- 
goons. It is written with great humor, and is full of gro- 
tesque imagery. "Mad Anthony" especially is in broad 
caricature, and represented to have lost his horse upon the 
great occasion. 

His horse that carried all his prog, 

His military speeches. 
His corn-stalk whisky for his grog — 

Blue stockings and brown breeches. 

The cantos were published at different times in "Riving- 
ton's Gazette." It so happened that the last canto appeared 
on the very day of Andre's capture, and ended with the 
following stanza, which might be considered ominous: 

And now I've closed my epic strain, 

I tremble as I show it, 
Lest this same warrio-drover, "Wayne, 

Should ever catch the poet. 

Cife of U/asfyiQ^tor) 376 


Iaterview of Washington with the French Officers at Hartford- 
Plan of Attack disconcerted — Washington's Return — Scenes at 
Arnold's Headquarters in the Highlands — Tidings of Andre's 
Capture — Flight of Arnold — Letters from the Traitor — Wash- 
ington's Precautions — Situation of Mrs. Arnold 

On the very day that the treasonable conference between 
Arnold and Andre took place, on the banks of Haverstraw 
Bay, Washington had his interview with the French officers 
at Hartford, It led to no important results Intelligence 
was received that the squadron of the Count de Guichen, 
on which they had relied to give them superiority by sea, 
had sailed for Europe. This disconcerted their plans, and 
Washington, in consequence, set out two or three days sooner 
than had been anticipated on his return to his headquarters 
on the Hudson. He was accompanied by Lafayette and 
General Knox, with their suites; also, part of the way, by 
Count Matthew Dumas, aid-de-camp to Rochambeau. The 
count, who regarded Washington with an enthusiasm which 
appears to have been felt by many of the young French offi- 
cers, gives an animated picture of the manner in which he 
was greeted in one of the town3 through which they passed, 
"We arrived there," says he, "at night; the whole popula- 
tion had sallied forth beyond the suburbs. We were sur- 
rounded by a crowd of children carrying torches, and reiter- 
ating the acclamations of the citizens ; all were eager to touch 
the person of him whom they hailed with loud cries as their 
father, and they thronged before us so as almost to prevent 

876 U/ori{8 of U/asl)ir>^top Iruii}$ 

our moving onward. General Washington, much afrected 9 
paused a few moments, and pressing my hand, 'We may 
be beaten by the English,' said he, 'it is the chance of war| 
but there is the army they will never conquer!' 35 

These few words speak that noble confidence in the en° 
during patriotism of his countrymen which sustained him 
throughout all the fluctuating fortunes of the Revolution; 
yet at this very moment it was about to receive one of the 
cruelest of wounds. 

On approaching the Hudson, Washington took a more 
circuitous route than the one he had originally intended, 
striking the river at Fishkill just above the Highlands, that 
he might visit West Point, and show the marquis the works 
which had been erected there during his absence in France, 
Circumstances detained them a night at Fishkill. Their 
baggage was sent on to Arnold's quarters in the Robinson 
House, with a message apprising the general that they would 
breakfast there the next day. In the morning (September 
24th) they were in the saddle before break of day, having 
a ride to make of eighteen miles through the mountains. It 
was a pleasant and animated one. Washington was in excel- 
lent spirits, and the buoyant marquis, and genial, warm- 
hearted Knox, were companions with whom he was always 
disposed to unbend. 

When within a mile of the Robinson House, Washington 
turned down a cross-road leading to the banks of the Hud- 
son. Lafayette apprised him that he was going out of the 
way, and hinted that Mrs. Arnold must be waiting break- 
fast for him. "Ah, marquis!" replied he good-humoredly, 
"you young men are all in love with Mrs. Arnold. I see 
you are eager to be with her as soon as possible. Go you 
and breakfast with her, and tell her not to wait for me. I 

Cife of U/asbir)<$toi) 377 

must ride down and examine the redoubts on this side of 
the river, but will be with her shortly." 

The marquis and General Knox, however, turned off and 
accompanied him down to the redoubts, while Colonel Ham- 
ilton, and Lafayette's aid-de-camp, Major James McHenry, 
continued along the main road to the Robinson House, bear- 
ing "Washington's apology, and request that the breakfast 
might not be retarded. 

The family, with the two aides-de-camp, sat down to 
breakfast. Mrs. Arnold had arrived but four or five days 
previously from Philadelphia, with her infant child, then 
about six months old. She was bright and amiable as usual. 
Arnold was silent and gloomy. It was an anxious moment 
with him. This was the day appointed for the consumma- 
tion of the plot, when the enemy's ships were to ascend the 
river. The return of the commander-in-chief from the East 
two days sooner than had been anticipated, and his proposed 
visit to the forts, threatened to disconcert everything. "What 
might be the consequence Arnold could not conjecture. An 
interval of fearful imaginings was soon brought to a direful 
close. In the midst of the repast a horseman alighted at the 
gate. It was the messenger bearing Jameson's letter to 
Arnold, stating the capture of Andre, and that dangerous 
papers found on him had been forwarded to "Washington. 

The mine had exploded beneath Arnold's feet; yet in 
this awful moment he gave an evidence of tha,t quickness 
of mind which had won laurels for him when in the path of 
duty. Controlling the dismay that must have smitten him 
to the heart, he beckoned Mrs. Arnold from the breakfast- 
table, signifying a wish to speak with her in private. "When 
alone with her in her room upstairs, he announced in hurried 
words that he was a ruined man and must instantly fly for 

378 U/orKs of U/ast?iD$toi) Irvino. 

his life ! Overcome by the shock, she fell senseless on the 
floor. Without pausing to aid her, he hurried downstairs, 
sent the messenger to her assistance, probably to keep him 
from an interview with the other officers; returned to the 
breakfast-room, and informed his guests that he must haste 
to "West Point to prepare for the reception of the commander- 
in-chief; and mounting the horse of the messenger, which 
stood saddled at the door, galloped down, by what is still 
called Arnold's Path, to the landing-place, where his six- 
oared barge was moored. Throwing himself into it, he 
ordered his men to pull out into the middle of the river, and 
then made down with all speed for Teller's Point, which 
divides Haverstraw Bay from the Tappan Sea, saying he 
must be back soon to meet the commander-in-chief. 

Washington arrived at the Robinson House shortly after 
the flight of the traitor. Being informed that Mrs. Arnold 
was in her room, unwell, and that Arnold had gone to West 
Point to receive him, he took a hasty breakfast, and repaired 
to the fortress, leaving word that he and his suite would 
return to dinner. 

In crossing the river, he noticed that no salute was fired 
from the fort, nor was there any preparation to receive him 
on his landing. Colonel Lamb, the officer in command, who 
came down to the shore, manifested surprise at seeing him, 
and apologized for this want of military ceremony, by assur- 
ing him he had not been apprised of his intended visit. 

"Is not General Arnold here?" demanded Washington. 

"No, sir. He has not been here for two days past; nor 
have I heard from him in that time." 

This was strange and perplexing, but no sinister suspicion 
entered Washington's mind. He remained at the Point 
throughout the morning inspecting the fortifications. In 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)<$toi) 379 

the meantime, the messenger whom Jameson had dispatched 
to Hartford with a letter covering the papers taken on Andre 
arrived at the Robinson House. He had learned, while on 
the way to Hartford, that Washington had left that place, 
whereupon he turned bridle to overtake him, but missed him 
in consequence of the general's change of route. Coming 
by the lower road, the messenger had passed through Salem, 
where Andre was confined, and brought with him the letter 
written by that unfortunate officer to the commander-in-chief, 
the purport of which has already been given. These letters 
being represented as of the utmost moment, were opened and 
read by Colonel Hamilton, as "Washington's aid-de-camp 
and confidential officer. He maintained silence as to their 
contents; met "Washington, as he and his companions were 
coming up from the river, on their return from "West Point, 
spoke to him a few words in a low voice, and they retired 
together into the house. "Whatever agitation "Washington 
may have felt when these documents of deep-laid treachery 
were put before him, he wore his usual air of equanimity 
when he rejoined his companions. Taking Knox and La- 
fayette aside, he communicated to them the intelligence 
and placed the papers in their hands. ""Whom can we 
trust now?" was his only comment, but it spoke volumes. 
His first idea was to arrest the traitor, Conjecturing the 
direction of his flight, he dispatched Colonel Hamilton on 
horseback to spur with all speed to Verplanck's Point, which 
commands the narrow part of the Hudson, just below the 
Highlands, with orders to the commander to intercept Arnold 
should he not already have passed that post. This done, 
when dinner was announced, he invited the company to 
table. "Come, gentlemen; since Mrs. Arnold is unwell, and 
the general is absent, let us sit down without ceremony " 

380 U/or^8 of U7asfyin<$too Iruir><$ 

The repast was a quiet one, for none but Lafayette and 
Knox, besides the general, knew the purport of the letters 
just received. 

In the meantime, Arnold, panic-stricken, had sped his 
caitiff flight through the Highlands ; infamy howling in his 
rear; arrest threatening him in advance; a fugitive pa£t the 
posts which he had recently commanded; shrinking at the 
sight of that flag which hitherto it had been his glory to 
defend! Alas! how changed from the Arnold, who, but 
two years previously, when repulsed, wounded, and crip- 
pled, before the walls of Quebec, could yet write proudly 
from a shattered camp, "I am in the way of my duty, and 
I know no fear!" 

He had passed through the Highlands in safety, but there 
were the batteries at Verplanck's Point yet to fear. Fortu- 
nately for him, Hamilton, with the order for his arrest, had 
not arrived there. 

His barge was known by the garrison. A white hand- 
kerchief displayed gave it the sanction of a flag of truce : it 
was suffered to pass without question, and the traitor effected 
his escape to the "Vulture" sloop of war, anchored a few 
miles below. As if to consummate his degradation by a 
despicable act of treachery and meanness, he gave up to the 
commander his coxswain and six bargemen as prisoners of 
war. "We are happy to add that thi3 perfidy excited the 
scorn of the British officers; and, when it was found that 
the men had supposed they were acting under the protec- 
tion of a flag, they were released by order of Sir Henry 

Colonel Hamilton returned to the Robinson House and 
reported the escape of the traitor. He brought two letters 
also to Washington, which had been sent on shore from the 

Cife of U/asl?iD<?ton 381 

" Vulture," under a flag of truce. One was from Arnold, 
of which the following is a transcript : 

1 'Sir — The heart which is conscious of its own rectitude 
cannot attempt to palliate a step which the world may cen- 
sure as wrong; I have ever acted from a principle of love to 
my country, since the commencement of the present unhappy 
contest between Great Britain and the colonies; the same 
principle of love to my country actuates my present conduct, 
however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who seldom 
judge right of any man's actions. 

"I ask no favor for myself. I have too often experienced 
the ingratitude of my country to attempt it; but, from the 
known humanity of your Excellency, I am induced to ask 
your protection for Mrs. Arnold from every insult and in- 
jury that a mistaken vengeance of my country may expose 
her to. It ought to fall only on me; she is as good and as 
innocent as an angel, and is incapable of doing wrong. I 
beg she may be permitted to return to her friends in Phil- 
adelphia, or to come to me as she may choose; from your 
Excellency I have no fears on her account, but she may 
suffer from the mistaken fury of the country." 

The other letter was from Colonel Beverley Robinson, 
interceding for the release of Andre, on the plea that he was 
on shore under the sanction of a flag of truce, at the request 
of Arnold. Robinson had hoped to find favor with Wash 
ington on the score of their early intimacy. 

Notwithstanding Washington's apparent tranquillity and 
real self-possession, it was a time of appalling distrust. How 
far the treason had extended, who else might be implicated 
in it, was unknown. Arnold had escaped, and was actually 

382 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii>^toi> Injii?©; 

on board of the " Vulture"; he knew everything about th© 
condition of the posts : might he not persuade the enemy, in 
the present weak state of garrisons, to attempt a coup de 
main? "Washington instantly, therefore, dispatched a letter 
to Colonel "Wade, who was in temporary command at West 
Point. " General Arnold is gone to the enemy," writes he. 
"I have just now received a line from him inclosing one to 
Mrs. Arnold, dated on board of the * Vulture.' I request 
that you will be as vigilant as possible, and as the enemy 
may have it in contemplation to attempt some enterprise, 
even to-night, against these posts, I wish you to make, im- 
mediately after the receipt of this, the best disposition you 
can of your force, so as to have a proportion of men in each 
work on the east side of the river." 

A regiment stationed in the Highlands was ordered to 
the same duty, as well as a body of the Massachusetts mili- 
tia from Fishkill. At half-past seven in the evening, Wash- 
ington wrote to General Greene, who, in his absence, com- 
manded the army at Tappan; urging him to put the left 
division in motion as soon as possible, with orders to proceed 
to King's Ferry, where, or before they should arrive there, 
they would be met with further orders. "The division," 
writes he, "will come on light, leaving their heavy baggage 
to follow. You will also hold all the troops in readiness to 
move on the shortest notice. Transactions of a most inter- 
esting nature, and such as will astonish you, have been just 

His next thought was about Andre. He was not ac- 
quainted with him personally, and the intrigues in which 
he had been engaged, and the errand on which he had come, 
made him consider him an artful and resolute person. He 
had possessed himself of dangerous information, and in a 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$too 383 

manner had been arrested with the key of the citadel in his 
pocket. On the same evening, therefore, "Washington wrote 
to Colonel Jameson, charging that every precaution should 
be taken to prevent Major Andre from making his escape. 
"He will no doubt effect it, if possible; and in order that he 
may not have it in his power, you will send him under the 
care of such a party and so many officers as to preclude him 
from the least opportunity of doing it. That he may be less 
liable to be recaptured by the enemy, who will no doubt 
make every effort to regain him, he had better be conducted 
to this place by some upper road, rather than by the route of 
Crompond. I would not wish Mr. Andre to be treated with 
insult ; but he does not appear to stand upon the footing of a 
common prisoner of war, and therefore he is not entitled to 
the usual indulgences which they receive, and is to be most 
closely and narrowly watched." 

In the meantime, Mrs. Arnold remained in her room in 
a state bordering on frenzy. Arnold might well confide in 
the humanity and delicacy of "Washington in respect to her. 
He regarded her with the sincerest commiseration, acquit- 
ting her of all previous knowledge of her husband's guilt. 
On remitting to her, by one of his aides-de-camp, the letter 
of her husband, written from on board of the "Vulture," he 
informed her that he had done all that depended upon him- 
self to have him arrested, but not having succeeded, he ex- 
perienced a pleasure in assuring her of his safety.* 

A letter of Hamilton's written at the time, with all the 
sympathies of a young man, gives a touching picture of 
"Washington's first interview with her. "She for a time en- 
tirely lost herself. The general went up to see her, and she 

* Memoirs of Lafayette, i., p. 264, 

384 U/orl^s of U/a&f?iD<$toi> Iruii}$ 

upbraided him with being in a plot to murder her child. 
One moment she raved, another she melted into tears, some- 
times she pressed her infant to her bosom, and lamented its 
fate, occasioned by the imprudence of its father, in a man- 
ner that would have pierced insensibility itself. All the 
sweetness of beauty, all the loveliness of innocence, all the 
tenderness of a wife, and all the fondness of a mother, 
showed themselves in her appearance and conduct." 

During the brief time she remained at the Robinson 
House, she was treated with the utmost deference and deli- 
cacy, but soon set off, under a passport of Washington, for 
her father's house in Philadelphia. 


Andre's Conduct as a Prisoner — His Conversations with Colonel 
Tallmadge — Story of Nathan Hale — Andre's Prison at Tappan 
— Correspondence on his behalf — His Trial — Execution — Re- 
ward of the Captors — Reward of Arnold — His Proclamation — 
After Fortunes of Mrs. Arnold 

On the 26th of September, the day after the treason of 
Arnold had been revealed to Washington, Andre arrived at 
the Robinson House, having been brought on in the night, 
under escort and in charge of Major Tallmadge. "Washing- 
ton made many inquiries of the major, but declined to have 
the prisoner brought into his presence, apparently entertain^ 
ing a strong idea of his moral obliquity, from the nature of 
the scheme in which he had been engaged and the circum* 
stances under which he had been arrested. 

The same evening he transmitted him to West Point, and 
shortly afterward, Joshua H. Smith, who had likewise been 

Cife of U/a8l?in^toD 385 

arrested. Still, not considering them secure even there, he 
determined on the following day to send them on to the 
camp. In a letter to Greene he writes: "They will be un- 
der an escort of horse, and X wish you to have separate 
houses in camp ready for their reception, in which they may 
be kept perfectly secure; and also strong, trusty guards, 
trebly officered, that a part may be constantly in the room 
with them. They have not been permitted to be together, 
and must be kept apart. I would wish the room for Mr. 
Andre to be a decent one, and that he may be treated with 
civility ; but that he may be so guarded as to preclude a pos- 
sibility of his escaping, which he will certainly attempt to 
effect, if it shall seem practicable in the most distant degree." 

Major Tallmadge continued to have the charge of Andre. 
Not regarding him from the anxious point with the com- 
mander-in-chief, and having had opportunities of acquiring 
a personal knowledge of him, he had become fascinated by 
his engaging qualities. "The ease and affability of his man- 
ners," writes he, "polished by the refinement of good society 
and a finished education, made him a most delightful com- 
panion. It often drew tears from my eyes to find him so 
agreeable in conversation on different subjects, when I re- 
flected on his future fate, and that too, as I feared, so near 
at hand." 

Early on the morning of the 28th, the prisoners were em- 
barked in a barge, to be conveyed from "West Point to King's 
Ferry. Tallmadge placed Andre by his side on the after 
seat of the barge. Being both young, of equal rank, and 
prepossessing manners, a frank and cordial intercourse had 
grown up between them. By a cartel, mutually agreed 
upon, each might put to the other any question not involv- 
ing a third person. They were passing below the rocky 

Vol. XIV.— ***i? 

386 UVor^s of U/asl?ii?<$toi) Iruir?<$ 

heights of "West Point, and in full view of the fortress, when 
Tallmadge asked Andre whether he would have taken an 
active part in the attack on it, should Arnold's plan have 
succeeded. Andre promptly answered in the affirmative; 
pointed out a table of land on the west shore, where he 
would have landed at the head of a select corps, described 
the route he would have taken up the mountain to a height 
in the rear of Fort Putnam, overlooking the whole parade 
of West Point — "and this he did,'* writes Tallmadge, "with 
much greater exactness than I could have done. This emi- 
nence he would have reached without difficulty, as Arnold 
would have disposed of the garrison in such manner as to be 
capable of little or no opposition — and then the key of the 
country would have been in his hands, and he would have 
had the glory of the splendid achievement." 

Tallmadge fairly kindled into admiration as Andre, with 
hereditary French vivacity, acted the scene he was describ- 
ing. "It seemed to him," he said, "as if Andre were en- 
tering the fort sword in hand." 

He ventured to ask what was to have been his reward 
had he succeeded. "Military glory was all he sought. The 
thanks of his general and the approbation of his king would 
have been a rich reward for such an undertaking." 

Tallmadge was perfectly charmed, but adds quietly, "I 
think he further remarked that, if he had succeeded, he 
was to have been promoted to the rank of a brigadier- 

While thus the prisoner, confident of the merit of what 
he had attempted, kindled with the idea of an imaginary tri- 
umph, and the youthful officer who had him in charge caught 
fire from his enthusiasm, the barge glided through that sol- 
emn defile of mountains, through which, but a few days pre- 

f.ife of U/asbir)<$toi? 387 

viously, Arnold, the panic-stricken traitor of the drama, had 
fled like a felon. 

After disembarking at King's Ferry, near Stony Point, 
they set off for Tappan under the escort of a body of horse. 
As they approached the Clove, a deep defile in the rear of 
the Highlands, Andre, who rode beside Tallmadge, became 
solicitous to know the opinion of the latter as to what would 
be the result of his capture, and in what light he would be 
regarded by General Washington and by a military tribunal, 
should one be ordered. Tallmadge evaded the question as 
long as possible, but being urged to a full and explicit reply, 
gave it, he says, in the following words : "I had a much- 
loved classmate in Yale College, by the name of Nathan 
Hale, who entered the army in 1775. Immediately after 
the battle of Long Island, General "Washington wanted in- 
formation respecting the strength, position, and probable 
movements of the enemy. Captain Hale tendered his ser- 
vices, went over to Brooklyn, and was taken, just as he was 
passing the outposts of the enemy on his return ; said I with 
emphasis — 'Do you remember the sequel of the story?' — 
'Yes,' said Andre. 'He was hanged as a spy! But you 
surely do not consider his case and mine alike?' — 'Yes, pre- 
cisely similar; and similar will be your fate.' " * 

* The fate of the heroic youth here alluded to deserves a 
more ample notice. Born in Coventry, Connecticut, Juno 
G, 1755, he entered Yale College in 1770, and graduated 
with some distinction in September, 1773, having previously 
contracted an engagement of marriage ; not unlike Andre in 
this respect, who wooed his"Honora" at eighteen. On quit- 
ting college he engaged as a teacher, as is common with 
young men in New England while studying for a profession. 
His half-formed purpose was to devote himself to the minis- 
try. As a teacher of youth he was eminently skillful, and 
equally apnreciated by parents and pupils. He became uni- 

388 U/orl^s of U/asl?iD<$ton Iruin$ 


He endeavored," adds Tallmadge, "to answer my re- 
marks, but it was manifest lie was more troubled in spirit 
than I had ever seen him before." 

"We stopped at the Clove to dine and let the horse -guard 
refresh," continues Tallmadge. " While there, Andre kept 
reviewing his shabby dress, and finally remarked to me that 
he was positively ashamed to go to the headquarters of the 
American army in such a plight. I called my servant and 
directed him to bring my dragoon cloak, which I presented 
to Major Andre. This he refused to take for some time; 
but I insisted on it, and he finally put it on and rode in 
it to Tappan." 

The place which had been prepared to receive Major An- 
dre is still pointed out as the "76 Stone House." The cau- 

versally popular. "Everybody loved him," said a lady of 
his acquaintance, "he was so sprightly, intelligent and kind, 
and so handsome." 

He was teaching at New London when an express ar- 
rived, bringing tidings of the outbreak at Lexington. A 
town meeting was called, and Hale was among the most ar- 
dent of the speakers, proposing an instant march to the scene 
of hostilities, and offering to volunteer. "A sense of duty," 
writes he to his father, "urges me to sacrifice everything for 
my country." 

He served in the army before Boston as a lieutenant; 
prevailed on his company to extend their term of service by 
offering them his own pay, and for his good conduct received 
from Congress the commission of captain. He commanded 
a company in Colonel Knowlton's regiment in the following 
year. After the disastrous battle of Long Island, Washing- 
ton applied to that officer for a competent person to penetrate 
the enemy's camp, and procure intelligence of their designs; 
a service deemed vital in that dispiriting crisis. Hale, in 
the ardor of patriotism, volunteered for the unenviable en- 
terprise, though fully aware of its peril, and the consequences 
of capture. 

Assuming his old character as schoolmaster, he crossed 
the Sound at night from Norwalk to Huntington on Long 

Cife of U7asl?iD<$t:oD 389 

tion which Washington had given as to his safe keeping was 
strictly observed by Colonel Scammel, the adjutant-general, 
as may be seen by his orders to the officer of the guards. 

" Major Andre, the prisoner under your guard, is not 
only an officer of distinction in the British army, but a man 
of infinite art and address, who will leave no means unat- 
tempted to make his escape, and avoid the ignominious death 
which awaits him. You are, therefore, in addition to your 
sentries, to keep two officers constantly in the room with 
him, with their swords drawn, while the other officers who 
are out of the room are constantly to keep walking the entry 
and around the sentries, to see that they are alert. No per- 
son whatever to be permitted to enter the room, or speak 
with him, unless by direction of the commander-in-chief. 

Island, visited the British encampments unsuspected, made 
drawings of the enemy's works, and noted down memoranda 
in Latin of the information he gathered, and then retraced 
his steps to Huntington, where a boat was to meet him and 
convey him back to the Connecticut shore. Unfortunately 
a British guard-ship was at that time anchored out of view 
in the Sound, and had sent a boat on shore for water. Hale 
mistook it for the expected boat, and did not discover his 
mistake until he found himself in the hands of enemies. He 
was stripped and searched, the plans and memoranda were 
found concealed in the soles of his shoes, and proved him to 
be a spy. 

He was conveyed to the guard-ship, and thence to New 
York, where he was landed on the 21st September, the day 
of the great fire. He was taken to General Howe's head- 
quarters, and, after brief parley with his judge, ordered for 
execution the next morning at daybreak — a sentence carried 
out by the provost-marshal, the brutal and infamous Cun- 
ningham, who refused his request for a Bible, and destroyed 
a letter he had addressed to his mother, for the reason after- 
ward given by himself, "that the rebels should never know 
they had a man who could die with such firmness." His 
patriot spirit shone forth in his dying words — "I only regret 
that I have but one life to lose for my country." 

390 ll/ori^s of U/asfyir^too Iruir)<$ 

You are by no means to suffer him to go out of the room 
on any pretext whatever." * 

The capture of Andre caused a great sensation at New 
York. He was universally popular with the army, and an 
especial favorite of Sir Henry Clinton. The latter addressed 
a letter to Washington on the 29th, claiming the release of 
Andre on similar ground to that urged by Colonel Robinson 
— his having visited Arnold at the particular request of that 
general officer, and under the sanction of a flag of truce; 
and his having been stopped while traveling under Arnold's 
passports. The same letter inclosed one addressed by Ar- 
nold to Sir Henry, and intended as a kind of certificate of 
the innocence of Andre. "I commanded at the time at 
West Point,' ' writes the renegade, "had an undoubted right 
to send my flag of truce to Major Andre, who came to me 
under that protection, and having held conversation with 
him, I delivered him confidential papers in my own hand- 
writing to deliver to your Excellency. Thinking it much 
properer he should return by land, I directed him to make 
use of the feigned name of John Anderson, under which he 
had, by my direction, come on shore, and gave him my pass- 
ports to go to the White Plains, on his way to New York. 
. . . All which I had then a right to do, being in the act- 
ual service of America, under the orders of General Wash- 
ington, and commanding general at West Point and its de- 
pendencies." He concludes, therefore, that Andre cannot 
fail of being immediately sent to New York. 

Neither the official demand of Sir Henry Clinton, nor the 
impudent certificate of Arnold, had any effect on the steady 
mind of Washington. He considered the circumstances un- 

* From a copy among the papers of General Hand. 

Cife of U/astyr^tor; 391 

der which Andre had been taken such as would have justi- 
fied the most summary proceedings, but he determined to 
refer the case to the examination and decision of a board of 
general officers, which he convened on the 29th of Septem- 
ber, the day after his arrival at Tappan. It was composed 
of six major-generals, Greene, Stirling, St. Clair, Lafayette, 
R. Howe, and Steuben ; and eight brigadiers, Parsons, James 
Clinton, Knox, Glover, Paterson, Hand, Huntingdon, and 
Stark. General Greene, who was well versed in military 
law, and was a man of sound head and kind heart, was 
president, and Colonel John Lawrence, judge advocate- 

Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who, like Tallmadge, had 
drawn to Andre in his misfortunes, as had most of the young 
American officers, gives, in letters to his friends, many in- 
teresting particulars concerning the conduct of the prisoner. 
"When brought before the board of officers," writes he, "he 
met with every mark of indulgence, and was required to an- 
swer no interrogatory which would even embarrass his feel- 
ings. On his part, while he carefully concealed everything 
that might implicate others, he frankly confessed all the 
facts relating to himself, and upon his confession, without 
the trouble of examining a witness, the board made up their 

It briefly stated the circumstances of the case, and con- 
cluded with the opinion of the court, that Major Andre, ad- 
jutant-general of the British army, ought to be considered a 
spy from the enemy, and, agreeably to the law and usage of 
nations, ought to suffer death. In a conversation with Ham- 
ilton, Andre acknowledged the candor, liberality and indul- 
gence with which the board had conducted themselves in 
their painful inquiry. He met the result with manly firm- 

392 ll/or^s of U/asl?ir>dtoi> Iruio$ 

ness. "I foresee my fate," said he; "and though I pretend 
not to play the hero, or to be indifferent about life, yet I am 
reconciled to whatever may happen ; conscious that misfort- 
une, not guilt, has brought it upon me." 

Even in this situation of gathering horrors, he thought of 
others more than of himself. "There is only one thing that 
disturbs my tranquillity, " said he to Hamilton. "Sir Henry 
Clinton has been too good to me; he has been lavish of his 
kindness. I am bound to him by too many obligations, and 
love him too well, to bear the thought that he should re- 
proach himself, or others should reproach him, on the sup- 
position of my having conceived myself obliged, by his in- 
structions, to run the risk I did. I would not for the world 
leave a sting in his mind that should imbitter his future 
days," He could scarce finish the sentence; bursting into 
tears, in spite of his efforts to suppress them, and with diffi- 
culty collected himself enough afterward to add, * ' I wish to 
be permitted to assure him that I did not act under this im- 
pression, but submitted to a necessity imposed upon me, as 
contrary to my own inclination as to his wishes." 

His request was complied with, and he wrote a letter to 
Sir Henry Clinton to the above purport. He made mention 
also of his mother and three sisters, to whom the value of 
his commission would be an object. "It is needless," said 
he, "to be more explicit on this subject; I am persuaded of 
your Excellency's goodness." * 

* The commission was sold by Sir Henry Clinton, for the 
benefit of Andre's mother and sisters. The king, also, set- 
tled a pension on the mother, and offered to confer the honor 
of knighthood on Andre's brother, in order to wipe away all 
stain from the family that the circumstance of his fate 
might be thought to occasion. 

Cife of U/as^ip<$tor> 39'5 

He concluded by saying, "I receive the greatest attention 
from his Excellency, General Washington, and from every 
person under whose charge I happen to be placed." 

This letter accompanied one from Washington to Sir 
Henry Clinton, stating the report of the board of inquiry, 
omitting the sentence. "From these proceedings," observes 
he, "it is evident that Major Andre was employed in the exe- 
cution of measures very foreign to the objects of flags of 
truce, and such as they were never meant to authorize in the 
most distant degree ; and this gentleman confessed with the 
greatest candor, in the course of his examination, that it was 
impossible for him to suppose that he came on shore under 
the sanction of a flag. , ' 

Captain Aaron Ogden, a worthy officer of the New Jer- 
sey line, was selected by Washington to bear these dispatches 
to the enemy's post at Paulus Hook, thence to be conveyed 
across the Hudson to New York. Before his departure, he 
called by Washington's request on the Marquis Lafayette, 
who gave him instructions to sound the officer commanding 
at that post whether Sir Henry Clinton might not be willing 
to deliver up Arnold in exchange for Andre. Ogden arrived 
at Paulus Hook in the evening, and made the suggestion, as 
if incidentally, in the course of conversation. The officer de- 
manded if he had any authority from Washington for such 
an intimation. "I have no such assurance from General 
Washington," replied he, "but I am prepared to say that if 
such a proposal were made, I believe it would be accepted, 
and Major Andre set at liberty." 

The officer crossed the river before morning, and com- 
municated the matter to Sir Henry Clinton; but the latter 
instantly rejected the expedient as incompatible with honor 
and military principle. 

394 U/or^s of U/asl?ir}<$toi) Irvipo; 

In the meantime, the character, appearance, deportment, 
and fortunes of Andre had interested the feelings of the old- 
est and sternest soldiers around him, and completely capti- 
vated the sympathies of the younger ones. He was treated 
with the greatest respect and kindness throughout his con- 
finement, and his table was supplied from that of the com- 

Hamilton, who was in daily intercourse with him, de- 
scribes him as well improved by education and travel, with 
an elegant turn of mind, and a taste for the fine arts. He 
had attained some proficiency in poetry, music and painting. 
His sentiments were elevated, his elocution was fluent, his 
address easy, polite and engaging, with a softness that con- 
ciliated affection. His talents and accomplishments were 
accompanied, saj^s Hamilton, by a diffidence that induced 
you to give him credit for more than appeared. 

No one felt stronger sympathy in his case than Colonel 
Tallmadge, no doubt from the consideration that he had 
been the means of bringing him into this awful predicament, 
by inducing Colonel Jameson to have him conducted back 
when on the way to Arnold's quarters. A letter lies before 
us, written by Tallmadge to Colonel Samuel B. Webb, one 
of "Washington's aides-de-camp. "Poor Andre, who has 
been under my charge almost ever since he was taken, 
has yesterday had his trial, and though his sentence is not 
known, a disgraceful death is undoubtedly allotted him. By 
heavens, Colonel Webb, I never saw a man whose fate I 
foresaw whom I so sincerely pitied. He is a young fellow 
of the greatest accomplishments, and was the prime minister 
of Sir Henry on all occasions. He has unbosomed his heart 
to me so fully, and indeed let me know almost every motive 
of his actions, since he came out on his late mission, that he 

Cife of U/asl?i9<$toi) 395 

has endeared me to him exceedingly. Unfortunate man! 
He will undoubtedly suffer death to-morrow; and though 
he knows his fate, seems to be as cheerful as if he were 
going to an assembly,, I am sure he will go to the gallows 
less fearful for his fate and with less concern than I shall 
behold the tragedy. Had he been tried by a court of ladies, 
he is so genteel, handsome, polite a young gentleman, that 
I am confident they would have acquitted him. But enough 
of Andre, who, though he dies lamented, falls justly.' ' 

The execution was to have taken place on the first of 
October, at five o'clock in the afternoon ; but in the interim 
"Washington received a second letter from Sir Henry Clinton, 
dated September 30th, expressing an opinion that the board 
of inquiry had not been rightly informed of all the circum- 
stances on which a judgment ought to be formed, and that, 
in order that he might be perfectly apprised of the state of 
the matter before he proceeded to put that judgment in exe- 
cution, he should send a commission on the following day, 
composed of Lieutenant-governor Elliot, "William Smith, 
chief -justice of the province, and Lieutenant-general Robert- 
son, to wait near Dobbs' Ferry for permission and safe 
conduct to meet "Washington, or such persons as he should 
appoint to converse with them on the subject. 

This letter caused a postponement of the execution, and 
General Greene was sent to meet the commissioners at Dobbs' 
Ferry. They came up in the morning of the 1st of October, 
in a schooner, with a flag of truce, and were accompanied 
by Colonel Beverley Robinson. General Robertson, how- 
ever, was the only commissioner permitted to land, the 
others not being military officers. A long conference took 
place between him and General Greene, without any agree- 
ment of opinion upon the question at issue. Greene returned 

896 U/orKs of U/as^i^toi) lrv\r)$ 

to camp, promising to report faithfully to Washington the 
arguments urged by Robertson, and to inform the latter of 
the result. 

A letter also was delivered to Greene for "Washington, 
which Arnold had sent by the commissioners, in which the 
traitor reasserted the right he had possessed, as commanding 
officer of the department, to transact all the matters with 
which Andre was inculpated, and insisted that the latter 
ought not to suffer for them. "But," added he, "if after 
this just and candid representation of Major Andre's case, 
the board of general officers adhere to their former opinion, 
I shall suppose it dictated by passion and resentment ; and if 
that gentleman should suffer the severity of their sentence, 
I shall think myself bound, by every tie of duty and honor, 
to retaliate on such unhappy persons of your army as may 
fall within my power, that the respect due to flags, and to 
the laws of nations, may be better understood and observed. 
I have further to observe that forty of the principal inhabi- 
tants of South Carolina have justly forfeited their lives, which 
have hitherto been spared by the clemency of his Excellency 
Sir Henry Clinton, who cannot in justice extend his mercy 
to them any longer, if Major Andre suffers; which, in all 
probability, will open a scene of blood at which humanity 

' ' Suffer me to entreat your Excellency, for your own sake 
and the honor of humanity, and the love you have of justice, 
that you suffer not an unjust sentence to touch the life of 
Major Andre. But if this warning should be disregarded, 
and he suffer, I call Heaven and earth to witness that your 
Excellency will be justly answerable for the torrent of blood 
that may be spilled in consequence." 

Besides this impudent and despicable letter, there was 

Cife of U/as^io^tor; 397 

another from Arnold containing the farce of a resignation, 
and concluding with the following sentence: " At the same 
time I beg leave to assure your Excellency that my attach- 
ment to the true interests Y ny country is invariable, and 
that I am actuated by the same principle which has ever 
been the governing rule of my conduct in this unhappy 

The letters of Arnold were regarded with merited con- 
tempt. Greene, in a brief letter to General Robertson, in- 
formed him that he had made as full a report of their confer- 
ence to the commander-in-chief as his memory would serve, 
but that it had made no alteration in Washington's opinion 
and determination. 

Robertson was piqued at the brevity of the note, and pro- 
fessed to doubt whether Greene's memory had served him 
with sufficient fullness and exactness; he addressed, there- 
fore, to Washington his own statement of his reasoning on 
the subject; after dispatching which he and the other com- 
missioners returned in the schooner to New York. 

During this day of respite Andre nad conducted himself 
with his usual tranquillity. A likeness of himself, seated at 
a table in his guard-room, which he sketched with a pen and 
gave to the officer on guard, is still extant. It being an- 
nounced to him that one o'clock on the following day was 
fixed on for his execution, he remarked that, since it was 
his lot to die, there was still a choice in the mode ; he there- 
fore addressed the following note to Washington : 

"Sir — Buoyed above the terror of death by the conscious- 
ness of a life devoted to honorable pursuits, and stained 
with no action that can give me remorse, I trust that the re- 
quest I make to your Excellency at this serious period, and 

398 U/or^s of U/as^ir><$toi) Irvipo; 

which is to soften my last moments, will not be rejected. 
Sympathy toward a soldier will surely induce your Excel- 
lency and a military tribunal to adapt the mode of my death 
to the feelings of a man of honor. 

"Let me hope, sir, that if aught in my character im- 
presses you with esteem toward me ; if aught in my misfort- 
unes marks me as the victim of policy and not of resentment, 
I shall experience the operation of these feelings in your 
breast by being informed that I am not to die on a gibbet. ' ' 

Had Washington consulted his feelings merely, this 
affecting appeal might not have been in vain, for, though 
not impulsive, he was eminently benevolent. Andre him- 
self had testified to the kind treatment he had experienced 
from the commander-in-chief since his capture, though no 
personal interview had taken place. Washington had no 
popular censure to apprehend, should he exercise indulgence, 
for the popular feeling was with the prisoner. But he had 
a high and tenacious sense of the duties and responsibilities 
of his position, and never more than in this trying moment, 
when he had to elevate himself above the contagious sym- 
pathies of those around him, dismiss all personal considera- 
tions, and regard the peculiar circumstances of the case. 
The long course of insidious operations which had been pur- 
sued to undermine the loyalty of one of his most trusted 
officers; the greatness of the evil which the treason would 
have effected, if successful; the uncertainty how far the 
enemy had carried, or might still be carrying, their scheme 
of corruption, for anonymous intimations spoke of treachery 
in other quarters; all these considerations pointed this out 
as a case in which a signal example was required. 

And what called for particular indulgence to the agent, 

Cife of U/ast?ii)<$toi) 399 

if not instigator of this enormous crime, who had thus been 
providentially detected in disguise, and with the means of 
its consummation concealed upon his person? His errand, 
as it has been eloquently urged, "viewed in the light of 
morality, and even of that chivalry from which modern war 
pretends to derive its maxims, was one of infamy. He had 
been commissioned to buy with gold what steel could not 
conquer; to drive a bargain with one ready for a price to 
become a traitor; to count out the thirty pieces of silver 
by which British generals and British gentlemen were not 
ashamed to purchase the betrayal of a cause whose shining 
virtue repelled their power and dimmed the glory of their 
arms." * 

Even the language of traffic in which this negotiation 
had been carried on between the pseudo-Gustavus and John 
Anderson, had, as has before been observed, something 
ignoble and debasing to the chivalrous aspirant who stooped 
to use it ; especially when used as a crafty covering in bar- 
gaining for a man's soul.f 

It has been alleged in Andre's behalf, as a mitigating 
circumstance, that he was involuntarily a spy. It is true, 
he did not come on shore in borrowed garb, nor with a design 
to pass himself off for another, and procure secret informa- 
tion; but he came, under cloak of midnight, in supposed 

* Speech of the Hon. Henry J. Raymond, at the dedica- 
tion of the Andre monument. 

f See letter of Gustavus to John Anderson, "My partner, 
of whom I hinted in a former letter, has about ten thousand 
pounds cash in hand, ready for a speculation, if any should 
offer; I have also one thousand pounds in hand, and can 
collect fifteen hundred more in two or three days. Add to 
this, I have some credit. From these hints you can judge 
of the purchase that can be made." 

400 ll/or^s of U/ast?ir)<$toi) Iruip$ 

safety, to effect the betrayal of a holy trust ; and it was his 
undue eagerness to secure the objects of this clandestine in- 
terview that brought him into the condition of an undoubted 
spy. It certainly should not soften our view of his mis- 
sion, that he embarked in it without intending to subject 
himself to danger. A spice of danger would have given 
it a spice of heroism, however spurious. When the rendez- 
vous was first projected, he sought, through an indirect 
channel, to let Arnold know that he would come out with 
a flag. (We allude to a letter written by him from New 
York on the 7th of September, under his feigned signature, 
to Colonel Sheldon ; evidently intended to be seen by Arnold ; 
"I will endeavor to obtain permission to go out with a flag.") 
If an interview had taken place under that sacred protection, 
and a triumphant treason had been the result, what a brand 
it would have affixed to Andre's name, that he had pros- 
tituted a flag of truce to such an end. 

We dwell on these matters, not to check the sentiment 
of sympathy awakened in Andre's behalf by his personal 
qualities, but to vindicate the fair name of Washington from 
that "blot" which some have attempted to cast upon it, be- 
cause, in exercising his stern duty as protector of the public 
weal, during a time of secret treason, he listened to policy 
and justice rather than mercy. In doing so, he took counsel 
with some of his general officers. Their opinions coincided 
with his own — that, under present circumstances, it was 
important to give a signal warning to the enemy, by a rigor- 
ous observance of the rules of war and the usages of nations 
in like cases.* 

* We subjoin a British officer's view of Andre's case. 
"He was tried by a board of general officers as a spy, and 
condemned to be hanged. The American general has been 

Cife of U/a8bii)$tor) 401 

But although Andre's request as to the mode of his death 
was not to be granted, it was thought best to let him remain 
in uncertainty on the subject; no answer, therefore, was 
returned to his note. On the morning of the 2d, he main- 
tained a calm demeanor, though all around him were gloomy 
and silent. He even rebuked his servant for shedding tears. 
Having breakfasted, he dressed himself with care in the full 
uniform of a British officer, which he had sent for to New 
York, placed his hat upon the table, and, accosting the offi- 
cers on guard — "I am ready," said he, "at any moment, 
gentlemen, to wait upon you." 

He walked to the place of execution between two subaltern 
officers, arm in arm, with a serene countenance, bowing to 
several gentlemen whom he knew. Colonel Tallmadge ac- 
companied him, and we quote his words. "When he came 
within sight of the gibbet, he appeared to be startled, and 
inquired with some emotion whether he was not to be shot. 
Being informed that the mode first appointed for his death 
could not consistently be altered, he exclaimed, € How hard 
is my fate!' but immediately added, 'It will soon be over. 5 
I then shook hands with him under the gallows, and retired. "* 

censured for directing this ignominious sentence to be car- 
ried into execution; but doubtless Major Andre was well 
aware when he undertook the negotiation of the fate that 
awaited him should he fall into the hands of the enemy. 
The laws of war award to spies the punishment of death. 
It would, therefore, be difficult to assign a reason why Major 
Andre should have been exempted from that fate to which 
all others are doomed under similar circumstances, although 
the amiable qualities of the man rendered the individual case 
a subject of peculiar commiseration." — Origin and Services 
of the Coldstream Guards: by Col. MacKinnon, vol. ii., 
p. 9. 

* MSS. of Col. B. Tallmadge in possession of his daugh- 
ter, Mrs. J. P. Cushman, of Troy, N". Y. 

402 U/orl^s of U/asr;in$tor; Iruino, 

"While waiting near the gallows until preparations were 
made, says another authority, who was present, he evinced 
some nervousness, putting his foot on a stone and rolling it; 
and making an effort to swallow, as if checking a hysterical 
affection of the throat. All things being ready, he stepped 
into the wagon ; appeared to shrink for an instant, but recov- 
ering himself, exclaimed: "It will be but a momentary 

Taking off his hat and stock, and opening his shirt collar, 
he deliberately adjusted the noose to his neck, after which 
he took out a handkerchief and tied it over his eyes. Being 
told by the officer in command that his arms must be bound, 
he drew out a second handkerchief, with which they were 
pinioned. Colonel Scammel now told him that he had an 
opportunity to speak, if he desired it. His only reply was, 
"I pray you to bear witness that I meet my fate like a brave 
man." The wagon moved from under him and left him 
suspended. He died almost without a struggle.* He re- 
mained suspended for about half an hour, during which time 
a deathlike stillness prevailed over the surrounding multi- 
tude. His remains were interred within a few yards of the 
place of his execution; whence they were transferred to 
England in 1821, by the British consul then resident in New 
York, and were buried in Westminster Abbey, near a mural 
monument which had been erected to his memory. 

Never has any man, suffering under like circumstances, 
awakened a more universal sympathy even among those of 
the country against which he had practiced. His story 
is one of the touching themes of the Revolution, and his 
name is still spoken of with kindness in the local traditions 
of the neighborhood where he was captured. 

* Thacher's Military Journal, p. 275. 

Cife of U/asl?ir;<$torj 403 

"Washington, in a letter to the President of Congress, 
passed a high eulogium on the captors of Andre, and recom- 
mended them for a handsome gratuity; for having, in all 
probability, prevented one of the severest strokes that could 
have been meditated by the enemy. Congress accordingly 
expressed, in a formal vote, a high sense of their virtuous 
and patriotic conduct; awarded to each of them a farm, a 
pension for life of two hundred dollars, and a silver medal, 
bearing on one side an escutcheon on which was engraved 
the word Fidelity, and on the other side the motto, Vincit 
Amor Patrice. These medals were delivered to them by 
General Washington at headquarters, with impressive cere- 

Isaac Van Wart, one of the captors, had been present at 
the execution of Andre, and was deeply affected by it. He 
was not fond of recalling the subject, and in after life could 
rarely speak of Andre without tears 

Joshua H. Smith, who aided in bringing Andre and 
Arnold together, was tried by a court-martial on a charge 
of participating in the treason, but was acquitted, no proof 
appearing of his having had any knowledge of Arnold's plot, 
though it was thought he must have been conscious of some- 
thing wrong in an interview so mysteriously conducted. 

Arnold was now made brigadier-general in the British 
service, and put on an official level with honorable men who 
scorned to associate with the traitor. What golden reward 
he was to have received had his treason been successful is 
not known; but six thousand three hundred and fifteen 
pounds sterling were paid to him, as a compensation for 
losses which he pretended to have suffered in going over 
to the enemies of his country. 

The vilest culprit, however, shrinks from sustaining the 

404 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir?$too Iruir><J 

obloquy of his crimes. Shortly after his arrival in New 
York, Arnold published an address to the Inhabitants of 
America, in which he endeavored to vindicate his conduct. 
He alleged that he had originally taken up arms merely to 
aid in obtaining a redress of grievances. He had considered 
the Declaration of Independence precipitate, and the reasons 
for it obviated by the subsequent proffers of the British Gov- 
ernment; and he inveighed against Congress for rejecting 
those offers, without submitting them to the people. 

Finally, the treaty with France, a proud, ancient and 
crafty foe, the enemy of the Protestant faith and of real 
liberty, had completed, he said, the measure of his indigna- 
tion, and determined him to abandon a cause sustained by 
iniquity and controlled by usurpers. 

Besides this address, he issued a proclamation inviting 
the officers and soldiers of the American army, who liad the 
real interest of their country at heart, and who were deter- 
mined to be no longer the tools and dupes of Oongress 3 and 
of France, to rally under the royal standard, and fight for 
true American liberty ; holding out promises of large boun- 
ties and liberal subsistence, with compensation for all the 
implements and accouterments of war they might bring with 

Speaking of this address, "I am at a loss," said Wash- 
ington, iC which to admire most, the confidence of Arnold 
in publishing it, or the folly of the enemy in supposing that 
a production signed by so infamous a character will have 
any weight with the people of these States, or any influence 
upcn our officers abroad. 5 ' 

He was right. Both the address and the proclamation 
were regarded by Americans with the contempt they merited. 
.None rallied to the standard of the renegade but a few 

Cife of U/asr;in<$tor) 405 

deserters and refugees, who were already within the British 
lines, and prepared for any desperate or despicable service.* 
Colonel John Laurens, former aid- de-camp to "Washing- 
ton, in speaking of Andre's fate, observed, " Arnold must 
undergo a punishment comparatively more severe, in the 

* The following passages of a letter written by Sir Thomas 
Romilly in London, Dec. 12, 1780, to the Rev. John Roget, 
are worthy of citation : 

"What do you think of Arnold's conduct? you may well 
suppose he does not want advocates here. I cannot join with 
them. If he thought the Americans not justified in continu- 
ing the war, after the offer of such favorable terms as the 
commissioners held out to them, why did he keep his com- 
mand for two years afterward? . . . 

"The arguments used by Clinton and Arnold in their 
letters to Washington, to prove . that Andre could not be 
considered as a spy, are, first, that he had with him, when 
he was taken, a protection of Arnold, who was at that time 
acting under a commission of the Congress, and, therefore, 
competent to give protections. Certainly he was, to all 
strangers to his negotiations with Clinton, but not to Andre, 
who knew him to be at that time a traitor to the Congress — 
nay, more, whose protection was granted for no other pur- 
pose but to promote and give effect to his treachery. In the 
second place, they say that at the time he was taken he was 
upon neutral ground ; but they do not deny that he had been 
within the American lines in disguise. The letters written 
by Andre himself show a firm, cool intrepidity, worthy a 
more glorious end. . . . 

"The fate of this unfortunate young man, and the manly 
style of his letters, have raised more compassion here than 
the loss of thousands in battle, and have excited a warmer 
indignation against the Americans than any former act of 
the Congress. When the passions of men are so deeply 
affected, you will not expect to find them keep within the 
bounds of reason. Panegyrics of the gallant Andre are 
unbounded ; they call him the English Mutius, and talk of 
erecting monuments to his memory. Certainly, no man 
in his situation could have behaved with more determined 
courage; but his situation was by no means such as to admit 
of these exaggerated praises." 

406 U/or^s of U/asfyii>$toi) Iruir^o" 

permanent, increasing torment of a mental hell." Wash- 
ington doubted it. "He wants feeling," said he. "From 
some traits of his character which have lately come to my 
knowledge, he seems to have been so hackneyed in villainy, 
and so lost to all sense of honor and shame, that, while his 
faculties will enable him to continue his sordid pursuits, there 
will be no time for remorse." And in a letter to Governor 
Reed, Washington writes, "Arnold's conduct is so villain- 
ously perfidious that there are no terms that can describe the 
baseness of his heart. That overruling Providence which 
has so often and so remarkably interposed in our favor, never 
manifested itself more conspicuously than in the timely dis- 
covery of his horrid intention to surrender the post and 
garrison of West Point into the hands of the enemy. . . . 
The confidence and folly which have marked the subsequent 
conduct of this man are of a piece with his villainy, and all 
three are perfect in their kind." 

Mrs. Arnold, on arriving at her father's house in Phila- 
delphia, had decided on a separation from her husband, to 
whom she could not endure the thoughts of returning after 
his dishonor. This course, however, was not allowed her. 
The executive council, wrongfully suspecting her of having 
aided in the correspondence between her husband and Andre, 
knowing its treasonable tendency, ordered her to leave the 
State within fourteen days, and not to return during the con- 
tinuance of the war. "We tried every means," writes one 
of her connections, "to prevail on the council to permit her 
to stay among us, and not to compel her to go to that infernal 
villain, her husband.* Mr. Shippen (her father) had prom- 

* Letters and Papers relating to the Provincial History 
of Pennsylvania, p. Ixiv. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 40? 

ised the council, and Mrs. Arnold had signed a writing to 
the same purpose, engaging not to write to General Arnold 
any letters whatever, and to receive no letters without show- 
ing them to the council, if she was permitted to stay." It 
was all in vain, and, strongly against her will, she rejoined 
her husband in New York. His fear for her personal safety 
from the fury of the people proved groundless. That scrupu- 
lous respect for the female sex, so prevalent throughout the 
United States, was her safeguard. While the whole country 
resounded with execrations of her husband's guilt; while his 
eQigy was dragged through the streets of town and village, 
burned at the stake, or swung on the gibbet, she passed on 
secure from injury or insult. The execrations of the popu- 
lace were silenced at her approach. Arriving at nightfall 
at a village where they were preparing for one of these burn- 
ings in effigy, the pyre remained unkindled, the people dis- 
persed quietly to their homes, and the wife of the traitor was 
suffered to sleep in peace. 

She returned home but once, about five years after her 
exile, and was treated with such coldness and neglect that 
she declared she never could come again. In England her 
charms and virtues, it is said, procured her sympathy and 
friendship, and helped to sustain the social position of her 
husband, who, however, was "generally slighted, and some- 
times insulted." * She died in London, in the winter of 
1796. In recent years it has been maintained that Mrs. 
Arnold was actually cognizant and participant of her hus- 
band's crime; but, after carefully examining all the proofs 
adduced, we remain of opinion that she was innocent. 

* Letters and Papers relating to the Provincial History of 
Pennsylvania, p. lxvi. 

408 Worlds of U/as!?ii)$top Iruipg 

We have been induced to enter thus largely into the cir= 
cumstances of this story, from the undiminished interest 
taken in it by the readers of American history. Indeed, a 
romance has been thrown around the memory of the un- 
fortunate Andre, which increases with the progress of years ; 
while the name of Arnold will stand sadly conspicuous to 
the end of time as the only American officer of note, through- 
out all the trials and vicissitudes of the Revolution, who 
proved traitor to the glorious cause of his country. 


The following fragment of a letter from Arnold's mother 
to him in early life was recently put into our hands. "Well 
would it have been for him had he adhered to its pious, 
though humble counsels. 

Norwich April 12 1754 
"dear childe. I received yours of 1 instant and was glad 
to hear that you was well : pray my dear let your first con- 
sern be to make your pease with god as itt is of all conserns 
of y 6 greatest importence. Keep a stedy watch over your 
thoughts, words and actions, be dutifull to superiors oblig- 
ing to equalls and affibel to inferiors. . . . 

from your afectionate 

Hannah ArnohL 

P. S. I have sent you fifty shillings youse itt prudently 
as you are acountabell to God and your father. Your father 
and aunt joyns with me in love and servis to Mr. Cogswell 
and ladey and yourself Your sister is from home. 

To Mr 

benedict arnold 
your father put at 

twenty more canterbury 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)<$top 409 


Greene takes Command at West Point — Insidious Attempts to 
shake the Confidence of Washington in his Officers — Plan 
to entrap Arnold — Character of Sergeant Champe — Court of 
Inquiry into the Conduct of Gates — Greene appointed to the 
Southern Department — Washington's Instructions to him — In- 
cursions from Canada — Mohawk Valley ravaged — State of the 
Army— Reforms adopted— Enlistment for the War — Half-pay 

As the enemy would now possess the means, through Ar- 
nold, of informing themselves thoroughly about West Point, 
Washington hastened to have the works completed and 
strongly garrisoned. Major-general Greene was ordered 
to march with the Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, 
and Stark's brigades, and take temporary command (ulti- 
mately to be transferred to General Heath), and the Penn- 
sylvania troops, which had been thrown into the fortress at 
the time of Arnold's desertion, were relieved. Washington 
himself took post, with his main army, at Prakeness, near 
Passaic Falls in New Jersey. 

Insidious attempts had been made by anonymous papers, 
and other means, as we have already hinted, to shake the 
confidence of the commander-in-chief in his officers, and 
especially to implicate General St. Clair in the late con- 
spiracy. Washington was exceedingly disturbed in mind 
for a time, and engaged Major Henry Lee, who was sta- 
tioned with his dragoons on the lines, to probe the matter 
through secret agents in New York. The result proved the 

utter falsehood of these insinuations. 

Vol. XIV.—* * * 18 

410 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvipo; 

At the time of making this inquiry a plan was formed, 
at "Washington's suggestion, to get possession of the person 
of Arnold. The agent pitched upon by Lee for the purpose 
was the sergeant-major of cavalry in his legion, John 
Champe by name, a young Virginian about twenty-four 
years of age, whom he describes as being rather above the 
middle size — full of bone and muscle; with a saturnine 
countenance, grave, thoughtful and taciturn, of tried loy- 
alty and inflexible courage. By many promises and much 
persuasion, Lee brought him to engage in the attempt. "I 
have incited his thirst for fame," writes he, "by impressing 
on his mind the virtue and glory of the act." 

Champe was to make a pretended desertion to the enemy 
at New York. There he was to enlist in a corps which Ar- 
nold was raising, insinuate himself into some menial or mili- 
tary situation about his person, and, watching for a favor- 
able moment, was, with the aid of a confederate from New- 
ark, to seize him in the night, gag him, and bring him across 
the Hudson into Bergen woods, in the Jerseys. 

Washington, in approving the plan, enjoined and stipu- 
lated that Arnold should be brought to him alive. "No cir- 
cumstance whatever," said he, "shall obtain my consent to 
his being put to death. The idea which would accompany 
such an event would be, that ruffians had been hired to as- 
sassinate him. My aim is to make a public example of him, 
and this should be strongly impressed upon those who are 
employed to bring him off." 

The pretended desertion of the sergeant took place on the 
night of October 20th, and was attended with difficulties. 
He had to evade patrols of horse and foot, besides stationary 
guards and irregular scouting parties. Major Lee could ren- 
der him no assistance other than to delay pursuit, should his 

Cife of U/a8kir><$eoi) 411 

departure be discovered. About eleven o'clock the sergeant 
took his cloak, valise, and orderly book, drew his horse from 
the picket, and mounting, set out on his hazardous course, 
while the major retired to rest. 

He had not been in bed half an hour, when Captain 
Carnes, officer of the day, hurrying into his quarters, gave 
word that one of the patrols had fallen in with a dragoon, 
who, on being challenged, put spurs to his horse and escaped. 
Lee pretended to be annoyed by the intrusion, and to believe 
that the pretended dragoon was some countryman of the 
neighborhood. The captain was piqued; made a muster of 
the dragoons, and returned with word that the sergeant- 
major was missing, who had gone off with horse, baggage, 
arms and orderly book. 

Lee was now compelled to order out a party in pursuit, 
under Cornet Middleton, but in so doing he contrived so 
many delays that, by the time they were in the saddle, 
Champe had an hour's start. His pursuers, too, were 
obliged, in the course of the night, to halt occasionally, 
dismount and examine the road, to guide themselvss by the 
horse's tracks. At daybreak they pressed forward more 
rapidly, and from the summit of a hill descried Champe, 
not more than half a mile in front. The sergeant at the 
same moment caught sight of his pursuers, and now the 
chase became desperate. Champe had originally intended 
to make for Paulus Hook, but changed his course, threw his 
pursuers at fault, and succeeded in getting abreast of two 
British galleys at anchor near the shore beyond Bergem He 
had no time to lose. Cornet Middleton was but two or three 
hundred yards behind him. Throwing himself off his horse, 
and running through a marsh, he plunged into the river 
and called to the galleys for help. A boat was sent to his 

412 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruir^ 

assistance, and he was conveyed on board of one of those 

For a time the whole plan promised to be successful; 
Champe enlisted in Arnold's corps; was employed about 
his person; and every arrangement was made to surprise 
him at night in a garden in the rear of his quarters, convey 
him to a boat, and ferry him across the Hudson. On the 
appointed night, Lee, with three dragoons and three led 
horses,* was in the woods of Hoboken, on the Jersey shore, 
waiting to receive the captive. Hour after hour passed 
away — no boat approached — day broke, and the major, with 
his dragoons and his led horses, returned perplexed and dis- 
appointed to the camp. 

Washington was extremely chagrined at the issue of the 
undertaking, fearing that the sergeant had been detected in 
the last scene of his perilous and difficult enterprise. It sub- 
sequently proved that, on the day preceding the night fixed 
on for the capture, Arnold had removed his quarters to an- 
other part of the town, to superintend the embarkation of 
troops, preparing (as was rumored) for an expedition to be 
directed by himself, and that the American legion, consist- 
ing chiefly of American deserters, had been transferred from 
their barracks to one of the transports. Among the troops 
thus transferred was John Champe; nor was he able for a 
long time to effect his escape and resume his real character 
of a loyal and patriotic soldier. He was rewarded, when he 
did so, by the munificence of the commander-in-chief, and 
the admiration of his old comrades in arms, having so nobly 
braved, in his country's cause, not merely danger, but a long 
course of obloquy 

We have here to note the altered fortunes of the once 
prosperous General Gates. His late defeat at Camden had 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)$toi} 413 

withered the laurels snatched at Saratoga. As in the one 
instance he had received exaggerated praise, so in the other 
he suffered undue censure. The sudden annihilation of an 
army from which so much had been expected, and the re- 
treat of the general before the field was absolutely lost, ap- 
peared to demand a strict investigation. Congress therefore 
passed a resolution (October 5th), requiring Washington to 
order a court of inquiry into the conduct of Gates as com- 
mander of the Southern army, and to appoint some other 
officer to the command until the inquiry should be made. 
"Washington at once selected Greene for the important trust, 
the well-tried officer whom he would originally have chosen 
had his opinion been consulted, when Congress so unad- 
visedly gave the command to Gates. In the present in- 
stance his choice was, in concurrence with the expressed 
wishes of the delegates of the three Southern States, con- 
veyed to him by one of their number. 

Washington's letter of instructions to Greene (October 
2 2d) showed the implicit confidence he reposed in the abili- 
ties and integrity of that excellent officer. "Uninformed as 
I am," writes he, "of the enemy's force in that quarter, of 
our own, or of the resources which it will be in our power to 
command, for carrying on the war, I can give you no par- 
ticular instructions, but must leave you to govern yourself 
entirely according to your own prudence and judgment, and 
the circumstances in which you find yourself. I am aware 
that the nature of the command will offer you embarrass- 
ments of a singular and complicated nature, but I rely upon 
your abilities and exertions for everything your means will 
enable you to effect." 

With regard to the court of inquiry, it was to be con- 
ducted in the quarter in which Gates had acted, where all 

414 U/or^s of U/asl?iQ<$tor) Iruir}$ 

the witnesses were, and where alone the requisite informa- 
tion could be obtained. Baron Steuben, who was to accom- 
pany Greene to the South, was to preside, and the members 
of the court were to be such general and field officers of the 
Continental troops as were not present at the battle of Cam- 
den, or, having been present, were not wanted as witnesses, 
or were persons to whom General Gates had no objection. 
The affair was to be conducted with the greatest impar- 
tiality, and with as much dispatch as circumstances would 

Washington concludes his letter of instructions to Greene 
with expressions dictated by friendship as well as official 
duty. "You will keep me constantly advised of the state of 
your affairs, and of every material occurrence. My warm- 
est wishes for your success, reputation, health and happiness 
accompany you." 

Ravaging incursions from Canada had harassed the north- 
ern parts of the State of New York of late, and laid desolate 
some parts of the country from which Washington had hoped 
to receive great supplies of flour for the armies. Major 
Carleton, a nephew of Sir Guy, at the head of a motloy 
force, European, tory, and Indian, had captured Forts Anne 
and George. Sir John Johnson, also, with Joseph Brant, 
and a mongrel half -savage crew, had laid waste the fertile 
region of the Mohawk River, and burned the villages of 
Schoharie and Caughnawaga. The greatest alarm prevailed 
throughout the neighboring country. Governor Clinton 
himself took the field at the head of the militia, but before 
he arrived at the scene of mischief, the marauders had been 
encountered and driven back by General "Van Rensselaer 
and the militia of those parts; not, however, until they had 
nearly destroyed the settlements on the Mohawk. Wash- 

Cife of U/asl?iQ$tor} 415 

ington dow put Brigadier-general James Clinton (the gov- 
ernor's brother) in command of the Northern department. 

The state of the army was growing more and more a sub- 
ject of solicitude to the commander in-chief. He felt weary 
of struggling on, with such scanty means, and such vast re- 
sponsibility. The campaign, which, at its commencement, 
had seemed pregnant with favorable events, had proved 
sterile and inactive, and was drawing to a close. The short 
terms for which most of the troops were enlisted must soon 
expire, and then the present army would be reduced to a 
mere shadow. The saddened state of his mind may be 
judged from his letters. An ample one, addressed to Gen- 
eral Sullivan, fully lays open his feelings and his difficulties. 
"I had hoped," writes he, "but hoped in vain, that a pros- 
pect was displaying which would enable me to fix a period 
to my military pursuits and restore me to domestic life. The 
favorable disposition of Spain; the promised succor from 
France ; the combined force in the West Indies ; the declara- 
tion of Russia (acceded to by other governments of Europe, 
and humiliating to the naval pride and power of Great Brit- 
ain) ; the superiority of France and Spain by sea in Europe; 
the Irish claims and English disturbances, formed, in the 
aggregate, an opinion in my breast, which is not very sus- 
ceptible of peaceful dreams, that the hour of deliverance was 
not far distant ; since, however unwilling Great Britain might 
be to yield the point, it would not be in her power to con- 
tinue the contest. But, alas! these prospects, flattering as 
they were, have proved delusory, and I see nothing before 
us but accumulating distress. 

"We have been half of our time without provisions, and 
are likely to continue so. We have no magazines, nor money 
to form them; and in a little time we shall have no men, if 

416 U/orl^s of U/asbi^toi) Iruio$ 

we have no money to pay them. In a word, the history of 
the war is a history of false hopes and temporary devices, 
instead of system and economy. It is in vain, however, to 
look back, nor is it our business to do so. Our case is not 
desperate, if virtue exists in the people and there is wisdom 
among our rulers. But to suppose that this great Revo- 
lution can be accomplished by a temporary army, that this 
army will be subsisted by State supplies, and that taxation 
alone is adequate to our wants, is in my opinion absurd, and 
as unreasonable as to expect an inversion in the order of nat- 
ure to accommodate itself to our views. If it was necessary, 
it could be proved to any person of a moderate understand- 
ing that an annual army, raised on the spur of the occasion, 
besides being unqualified for the end designed, is, in various 
ways which could be enumerated, ten times more expensive 
than a permanent body of men under good organization and 
military discipline, which never was nor ever will be the case 
with new troops. A thousand arguments, resulting from 
experience and the nature of things, might also be adduced 
to prove that the army, if it is dependent upon State sup- 
plies, must disband or starve, and that taxation alone, espe- 
cially at this late hour, cannot furnish the means to carry on 
the war.' 5 * 

We will here add that the repeated and elaborate rea- 
sonings of Washington, backed by dear-bought experience, 
slowly brought Congress to adopt a system suggested by 
him for the organization and support of the army, according 
to which troops were to be enlisted to serve throughout the 
war, and all officers who continued in service until the return 
of peace were to receive half-pay during life. 


Writings of Washington, vii. 228. 

Cife of U/asl?in$toi) 417 


The Marquis Lafayette and his Light-Infantry — Proposes a Brilliant 
Stroke— Preparations for an Attack on the British Posts on New- 
York Island — Visit of the Marquis of Chastellux to the Ameri- 
can Camp — Washington at Headquarters — Attack on the Brit- 
ish Posts given up — Stark forages Westchester County — Exploit 
of Tallmadge on Long Island 

The Marquis Lafayette at this time commanded the ad- 
vance guard of Washington's army, composed of six bat- 
talions of light-infantry. They were better clad than the 
other soldiery; in trim uniforms, leathern helmets, with 
crests of horse-hair. The officers were armed with spon- 
toons, the non-commissioned officers with fusees; both with 
short sabers which the marquis had brought from France 
and presented to them. He was proud of his troops, and 
had a young man's ardor for active service. The inactivity 
which had prevailed for some time past was intolerable to 
him. To satisfy his impatient longings, "Washington had 
permitted him, in the beginning of October, to attempt a 
descent at night on Staten Island, to surprise two Hessian 
encampments. It had fallen through for want of boats and 
other requisites, but he saw enough, he said, to convince 
him that the Americans were altogether fitted for such en- 

The marquis saw with repining the campaign drawing to 
a close, and nothing done that would rouse the people in 
America, and be spoken of at the Court of Versailles. He 

* Memoires de Lafayette, t. i., p. 337. 

418 U/or^s of ll/as^ir^ton Iruirjo" 

was urgent with Washington that the campaign should be 
terminated by some brilliant stroke. "Any enterprise," 
writes he, "will please the people of this country and show 
them that we do not mean to remain idle when we have 
men ; even a defeat, provided it were not disastrous, would 
have its good effect." 

Complaints, he hinted, had been made in France of the 
prevailing inactivity. "If anything could decide the minis- 
try to yield us the succor demanded," writes he, "it would 
be our giving the nation a proof that we are ready." 

The brilliant stroke, suggested with some detail by the 
marquis, was a general attack upon Fort "Washington, and 
the other posts at the north end of the island of New York, 
and, under certain circumstances, which he specified, make 
a push for the city. 

Washington regarded the project of his young and ardent 
friend with a more sober and cautious eye. "It is impos- 
sible, my dear marquis," replies he, "to desire more ardently 
than I do to terminate the campaign by some happy stroke; 
but we must consult our means rather than our wishes, and 
not endeavor to better our affairs by attempting things 
which, for want of success, may make them worse. We 
are to lament that there has been a misapprehension of our 
circumstances in Europe; but to endeavor to recover our 
reputation we should take care that we do not injure it more. 
Ever since it became evident that the allied arms could not 
co-operate this campaign, I have had an eye to the point you 
mention, determined, if a favorable opening should offer, to 
embrace it ; but, so far as my information goes, the enter- 
prise would not be warranted. It would, in my opinion, be 
imprudent to throw an army of ten thousand men upon an 
island, against nine thousand, exclusive of seamen and mi- 

Cife of U/a8t?ip<$toi) 419 

litia. This, from the accounts we have, appears to be the 
enemy's force. All we can do at present, therefore, is to 
endeavor to gain a more certain knowledge of their situation, 
and act accordingly." 

The British posts in question were accordingly reconnoi- 
tered from the opposite banks of the Hudson, by Colonel 
Gouvion, an able French engineer. Preparations were made 
to carry the scheme into effect, should it be determined upon, 
in which case Lafayette was to lead the attack at the head 
of his light troops, and be supported by Washington with his 
main force ; while a strong foraging party sent by General 
Heath from West Point to White Plains, in Westchester 
County, to draw the attention of the enemy in that direc- 
tion, and mask the real design, was, on preconcerted signals, 
to advance rapidly to King's Bridge, and co-operate. 

Washington's own officers were kept in ignorance of the 
ultimate object of the preparatory movements. " Never," 
writes his aid-decamp, Colonel Humphreys, " never was a 
plan better arranged, and never did circumstances promise 
more sure or complete success. The British were not only 
unalarmed, but our own troops were misguided in their 
operations." As the plan was not carried into effect, we 
have forborne to give many of its details. 

At this juncture, the Marquis de Chastellux arrived in 
camp, He was on a tour of curiosity, while the French 
troops at Rhode Island were in winter quarters, and came 
on the invitation of his relative, the Marquis Lafayette, who 
was to present him to Washington. In after years he pub 
lished an account of his tour, in which we have graphic 
sketches of the camp and the commanders. He arrived with 
his aides-de-camp on the afternoon of November 23d, and 
sought the headquarters of the commander-in-chief. They 

4*50 U/orl^s of lI/a6t?ir)<$tor) Iruio$ 

were in a large farmhouse. There was a spacious tent in 
the yard before it for the general, and several smaller tents 
in an adjacent field for his guards. Baggage wagons were 
arranged about for the transportation of the general's effects, 
and a number of grooms were attending to very fine horses 
belonging to general officers and their aides-de -camp. Every* 
thing was in perfect order. As De Chastellux rode up, he 
observed Lafayette in front of the house, conversing with an 
officer, tall of stature, with a mild and noble countenance. 
It was Washington. De Chastellux alighted and was pre- 
sented by Lafayette. His reception was frank and cordial. 
"Washington conducted him into the house. Dinner was 
over, but Generals Knox, Wayne and Howe, and Colonels 
Hamilton, Tilghman and other officers were still seated 
round the board. Washington introduced De Chastellux 
to them, and ordered a repast for the former and his aides- 
de-camp : all remained at table, and a few glasses of claret 
and Madeira promoted sociability. The marquis soon found 
himself at his ease with Washington. "The goodness and 
benevolence which characterize him," observes he, "are felt 
by all around him ; but the confidence he inspires is never 
familiar; it springs from a profound esteem for his virtues 
and a great opinion of his talents." 

In the evening, after the guests had retired, Washington 
conducted the marquis to a chamber prepared for him and 
his aides-de-camp, apologizing with nobly frank and simple 
politeness that his scanty quarters did not afford more spa- 
cious accommodation. 

The next morning, horses were led up after breakfast; 
they were to review the troops and visit Lafayette's encamp- 
ment, seven miles distant. The horses which De Chastellux 
and Washington rode had been presented to the latter by the 

Cife of Wa&tyT)QtOT) 421 

State of Virginia. There were fine blood horses also for the 
aides-de-camp. "Washington's horses," writes De Chastel- 
lux, "are as good as they are beautiful, and all perfectly 
trained. He trains them all himself. He is a very good 
and a very hardy cavalier, leaping the highest barriers, and 
riding very fast, without rising in the stirrups, bearing on 
the bridle, or suffering his horse to run as if wild." 

In the camp ot artillery, where General Knox received 
them, the marquis found everything in perfect order, and 
conducted in the European style. Washington apologized 
for no salute being fired. Detachments were in movement 
at a distance, in the plan of operations, and the booming of 
guns might give an alarm, or be mistaken for signals. 

Incessant and increasing rain obliged Washington to 
make but a short visit to Lafayette's camp, whence, put- 
ting spurs to his horse, he conducted his French visitors 
back to headquarters on as fast a gallop as bad roads 
would permit. 

There were twenty guests at table that day at headquar- 
ters. The dinner was in the English style, large dishes of 
butcher's meat and poultry, with different kinds of vege- 
tables, followed by pies and puddings, and a dessert of ap- 
ples and hickory-nuts. Washington's fondness for the latter 
was noticed by the marquis, and indeed was often a subject 
of remark. He would sit picking them by the hour after 
dinner, as he sipped his wine and conversed. 

One of the general's aides-de-camp sat by him at the end 
of the table, according to custom, to carve the dishes and 
circulate the wine. Healths were drunk and toasts were 
given; the latter were sometimes given by the general 
through his aid-de-camp. The conversation was tranquil 
and pleasant. Washington willingly entered into some de* 

4:22 ll/or^s of U/a8^ir><$top Iruir)<$ 

tails about the principal operations of the war, "but al- 
ways," says the marquis, "with a modesty and conciseness 
which proved sufficiently that it was out of pure complai- 
sance that he consented to talk about himself." 

"Wayne was pronounced agreeable and animated in con- 
versation, and possessed of wit; but Knox, with his genial 
aspect and cordial manners, seems to have won De Chastel- 
lux*s heart. "He is thirty-five years of age," writes he, 
"very stout but very active; a man of talent and intelli- 
gence, amiable, gay, sincere and loyal. It is impossible to 
know him without esteeming him, and to see him without 
loving him." 

It was about half-past seven when the company rose 
from the table, shortly after which those who were not of 
the household departed. There was a light supper of three 
or four dishes, with fruit, and abundance of hickory-nuts; 
the cloth was soon removed ; Bordeaux and Madeira wine 
were placed upon the table, and conversation went on. 
Colonel Hamilton was the aid-de-camp who officiated, and 
announced the toasts as they occurred. "It is customary," 
writes the marquis, "toward the end of the supper, to call 
upon each one for a sentiment, that is to say, the name of 
some lady to whom he is attached by some sentiment either 
of love, friendship or simple preference." 

It is evident there was extra gayety at the table of the 
commander-in chief during this visit, in compliment to his 
French guests; but we are told that gay conversation often 
prevailed at the dinners at headquarters among the aides-de- 
camp and young officers, in which Washington took little 
part, though a quiet smile would show that he enjoyed it. 

We have been tempted to quote freely the remarks of De 
Chastellux, as they are those of a cultivated man of society, 

Cife of U/asbin^too 423 

whose position and experience made him a competent judge, 
and who had an opportunity of observing Washington in a 
familiar point of view. 

Speaking of his personal appearance, he writes: "His 
form is noble and elevated, well-shaped and exactly propor- 
tioned; his physiognomy mild and agreeable, but such that 
one does not speak in particular of any one of its traits; and 
that in quitting him there remains simply the recollection of 
a fine countenance. His air is neither grave nor familiar; 
one sees sometimes on his forehead the marks of thought, 
but never of inquietude ; while inspiring respect he inspires 
confidence, and his smile is always that of benevolence. 

"Above all, it is interesting," continues the marquis, "to 
see him in the midst of the general officers of his army c 
General in a republic, he has not the imposing state of a 
marshal of France who gives the order; hero in a republic, 
he excites a different sort of respect, which seems to origi- 
nate in this sole idea, that the welfare of each individual is 
attached to his person." 

He sums up his character in these words: "Brave with- 
out temerity ; laborious without ambition ; generous without 
prodigality ; noble without pride ; virtuous without severity ; 
he seems always to stop short of that limit where the virtues, 
assuming colors more vivid, but more changeable and dubi- 
ous, might be taken for defects." 

During the time of this visit of the marquis to headquar- 
ters, news was received of the unexpected and accidental ap- 
pearance of several British armed vessels in the Hudson ; the 
effect was to disconcert the complicated plan of a coup de 
main upon the British posts, and finally, to cause it to be 

Some parts of the scheme were attended with success. 

424 U/orl^s of U/ast?io$toi) \r\jiT)$ 

The veteran Stark, with a detachment of twenty-five hun- 
dred men, made an extensive forage in "Westchester County, 
and Major Tallmadge with eighty men, chiefly dismounted 
dragoons of Sheldon's regiment, crossed in boats from the 
Connecticut shore to Long Island, where the Sound was 
twenty miles wide; traversed the Island on the night of the 
22d of November, surprised Fort George at Coram, captured 
the garrison of fifty-two men, demolished the fort, set fire to 
magazines of forage, and recrossed the Sound to Fairfield 
without the loss of a man, an achievement which drew forth 
a high eulogium from Congress. 

At the end of November the army went into winter quar- 
ters; the Pennsylvania line in the neighborhood of Morris- 
town, the Jersey line about Pompton, the New England 
troops at West Point, and the other posts of the Highlands ; 
and the New York line was stationed at Albany, to guard 
against any invasion from Canada. 

The French army remained stationed at Newport, except- 
ing the Duke of Lauzun's legion, which was cantoned at 
Lebanon in Connecticut. Washington's headquarters were 
established at New Windsor, on the Hudson. 

We will now turn to the South to note the course of affairs 
in that quarter during the last few months. 

Cife of U/a&l?ir}<$toi) 425 


Rigorous Measures of Cornwallis in South Carolina — Ferguson sent 
to scour the Mountain Country between the Catawba and the 
Yadkin — Cornwallis in a Hornet's Nest— Movements of Fergu- 
son — Mountain Men and Fierce Men from Kentucky — Battle of 
King's Mountain—Retrograde March of Cornwallis 

Cornwallis having, as he supposed, entirely crushed 
the "rebel cause" in South Carolina, by the defeats of Gates 
and Sumter, remained for some time at Camden, detained 
by the excessive heat of the weather and the sickness of part 
of his troops, broken down by the hardships of campaigning 
under a southern sun. He awaited also supplies and re- 

Immediately after the victory at Camden he had ordered 
the friends to royalty in North Carolina "to arm and intercept 
the beaten army of General Gates," promising that he would 
march directly to the borders of that province in their sup- 
port; he now detached Major Patrick Ferguson to its west- 
ern confines, to keep the war alive in that quarter. This 
resolute partisan had with him his own corps of light in- 
fantry, and a body of royalist militia of his own training. 
His whole force was between eleven and twelve hundred 
men, noted for activity and alertness, and unencumbered 
with baggage or artillery. 

His orders were to skirt the mountain country between 
the Catawba and the Yadkin, harass the whigs, inspirit the 
tones, and embody the militia under the royal banner. This 

426 U/or^s of U/asl?iD$toi) Irvine* 

done, he was to repair to Charlotte, the capital of Mecklen- 
burg County, where he would find Lord Cornwallis, who 
intended to make it his rendezvous. Should he, however, 
in the course of his tour, be threatened by a superior force, 
he was immediately to return to the main army. No great 
opposition, however, was apprehended, the Americans being 
considered totally broken up and dispirited. 

During the suspense of his active operations in the field, 
Cornwallis instituted rigorous measures against Americans 
who continued under arms, or, by any other acts, manifested 
what he termed "a desperate perseverance in opposing his 
majesty's Government." Among these were included many 
who had taken refuge in North Carolina. A commissioner 
was appointed to take possession of their estates and property ; 
of the annual product of which a part was to be allowed for 
the support of their families, the residue to be applied to the 
maintenance of the war. Letters from several of the prin- 
cipal inhabitants of Charleston having been found in the 
baggage of the captured American generals, the former were 
accused of breaking their parole, and holding a treasonable 
correspondence with the armed enemies of England; they 
were in consequence confined on board of prison ships, and 
afterward transported to St. Augustine in Florida. 

Among the prisoners taken in the late combats, many, 
it was discovered, had British protections in their pockets; 
these were deemed arrant renegades, amenable to the penal- 
ties of the proclamation issued by Sir Henry Clinton on the 
3d of June; they were therefore led forth from the provost 
and hanged, almost without the form of an inquiry. 

These measures certainly were not in keeping with the 
character for moderation and benevolence usually given to 
Lord Cornwallis ; but they accorded with the rancorous spirit 

Cife of U/asf?ir)<$toi) 427 

manifested toward each other both by whigs and tories in 
Southern warfare. If they were intended by his lordship 
as measures of policy, their effect was far different from 
what he anticipated ; opposition was exasperated into deadly 
hate, and a cry of vengeance was raised throughout the land. 
Cornwallis decamped from Camden, and set out for North 
Carolina. In the subjugation of that province he counted 
on the co-operation of the troops which Sir Henry Clinton 
was to send to the lower part of Virginia, which, after re- 
ducing the Virginians to obedience, were to join his lord- 
ship's standard on the confines of North Carolina. 

Advancing into the latter province, Cornwallis took post 
at Charlotte, where he had given rendezvous to Ferguson. 
Mecklenburg, of which this was the capital, was, as the 
reader may recollect, the " heady high-minded" county, 
where the first declaration of independence had been made, 
and his lordship from uncomfortable experience soon pro- 
nounced Charlotte " the Hornet's Nest of North Carolina." 

The surrounding country was wild and rugged, covered 
with close and thick woods, and crossed in every direction 
by narrow roads. All attempts at foraging were worse than 
useless. The plantations were small and afforded scanty 

The inhabitants were stanch whigs, with the pugnacious 
spirit of the old Covenanters. Instead of remaining at home 
and receiving the king's money in exchange for their prod- 
uce, they turned out with their rifles, stationed themselves 
in covert places, and fired upon the foraging parties ; convoys 
of provisions from Camden had to fight their way, and ex- 
presses were shot down and their dispatches seized. 

The capture of his expresses was a sore annoyance to 
Cornwallis, depriving him of all intelligence concerning the 

428 U/orl^s of U/agl?ir)$too Iruir/9 

movements of Colonel Ferguson, whose arrival he was 
anxiously awaiting. The expedition of that doughty par- 
tisan officer here calls for especial notice. He had been 
chosen for this military tour as being calculated to gain 
friends by his conciliating disposition and manners, and his 
address to the people of the country was in that spirit: "We 
come not to make war upon women and children, but to give 
them money and relieve their distresses . " Ferguson, how- 
ever, had a loyal hatred of whigs, and to his standard flocked 
many rancorous tories, besides outlaws and desperadoes, so 
that with all his conciliating intentions, his progress through 
the country was attended by many exasperating excesses. 
He was on his way to join Cornwallis when a chance for 
a signal exploit presented itself . An American force under 
Colonel Elijah Clarke, of Georgia, was retreating to the 
mountain districts of North Carolina, after an unsuccessful 
attack upon the British post at Augusta. Ferguson resolved 
to cut off their retreat. Turning toward the mountains, he 
made his way through a rugged wilderness and took post 
at Gilbert-town, a small frontier village of log houses. He 
was encouraged to this step, say the British chroniclers, by 
the persuasion that there was no force in that part of the 
country able to look him in the face. He had no idea that 
the marauds of his followers had arrayed the very wilderness 
against him. "All of a sudden," say the chroniclers just 
cited, "a numerous, fierce, and unexpected enemy sprung 
up in the depths of the desert. The scattered inhabitants 
of the mountains assembled without noise or warning, under 
the conduct of six or seven of their militia colonels, to the 
number of six hundred strong, daring, well mounted, and 
excellent horsemen." * 

* Annual Register, 1781, p. 52. 

Cife of U/asl?iD<$tor; 4^9 

These, m fact, were the people of the mountains which 
form the frontiers of the Carolinas and Georgia, "mountain 
men," as they were commonly called, a hardy race, half 
huntsmen, half herdsmen, inhabiting deep narrow valleys 
and fertile slopes, adapted to grazing, watered by the coldest 
of springs and brightest of streams, and embosomed in 
mighty forest trees. Being subject to inroads and surprisals 
from the Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks, a tacit league 
existed among them for mutual defense, and it only needed, 
as in the present instance, an alarm to be circulated through 
their settlements by swift messengers, to bring them at once 
to the point of danger. Besides these there were other ele- 
ments of war suddenly gathering in Ferguson's vicinity. A 
band of what were termed "the wild and fierce" inhabitants 
of Kentucky, with men from other settlements west of the 
Alleghanies, had crossed the mountains, led by Colonels 
Campbell and Boone, to pounce upon a quantity of Indian 
goods at Augusta; but had pulled up on hearing of the 
repulse of Clarke. The stout yeomen, also, of the district 
of Ninety- Six, roused by the marauds of Ferguson, had taken 
the field, under the conduct of Colonel James Williams, of 
Granville County. Here, too, were hard riders and sharp- 
shooters, from Holston River, Powell's Valley, Botetourt, 
Fincastle, and other parts of Virginia, commanded by Colo- 
nels Campbell, Cleveland, Shelby, and Sevier. Such were 
the different bodies of mountaineers and backwoodsmen, 
suddenly drawing together from various parts to the number 
of three thousand. 

Threatened by a force so superior in numbers and fierce 
in hostility, Ferguson issued an address to rouse the tories. 
"The Backwater men have crossed the mountain," said he, 
"McDowell, Hampton, Shelby, and Cleveland are at their 

430 U/orKs of ll/as^ir^tor; Irvii}<$ 

head. If you choose to be trodden upon for ever and ever 
by a set of mongrels, say so at once, and let women look out 
for real men to protect them. If you desire to live and bear 
the name of men, grasp your arms in a moment and run to 

The taunting appeal produced but little effect. In this 
exigency Ferguson remembered the instructions of Corn- 
wallis, that he should rejoin him should he find himself 
threatened by a superior force; breaking up his quarters, 
therefore, he pushed for the British army, sending messen- 
gers ahead to apprise his lordship of his danger. Unfortu- 
nately for him, his missives were intercepted. 

Gilbert-town had not long been vacated by Ferguson 
and his troops, when the motley host we have described 
thronged in. 

Some were on foot, but the greater part on horseback. 
Some were in homespun garb; but the most part in hunting 
shirts, occasionally decorated with colored fringe and tassels. 
Each man had his long rifle, a hunting knife, his wallet, 
or knapsack and blanket, and either a buck's tail or sprig 
of evergreen in his hat. Here and there an officer appeared 
in the Continental uniform of blue and buff, but most pre- 
ferred the half-Indian hunting dress. There was neither 
tent nor tent equipage, neither baggage nor baggage-wagon 
to encumber the movements of that extemporaneous host. 
Prompt warriors of the wilderness, with them it was " seize 
the weapon — spring into the saddle — and away!" In going 
into action, it was their practice to dismount, tie their horses 
to the branches of trees, or secure them in some other way, 
so as to be at hand for use when the battle was over, either 
to pursue a flying enemy, or make their own escape by dint 
of hoofo 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 431 

There was a clamor of tongues for a time at Gilbert-town ; 
groups on horseback and foot in every part, holding hasty- 
council. Being told that Ferguson had retreated by the 
Cherokee road toward North Carolina, about nine hundred 
of the hardiest and best mounted set out in urgent pursuit ; 
leaving those who were on foot, or weakly mounted, to follow 
on as fast as possible. Colonel William Campbell, of Vir- 
ginia, having come from the greatest distance, was allowed 
to have command of the whole party; but there was not 
much order nor subordination. Each colonel led his own 
men in his own way. 

In the evening they arrived at the Cowpens, a grazing 
neighborhood. Here two beeves were killed, and given to 
be cut up, cooked, and eaten as quick as possible. Before 
those who were slow or negligent had half prepared their 
repast, marching orders were given, and all were again in 
the saddle. A rapid and irregular march was kept up all 
night in murky darkness and through a heavy rain. About 
daybreak they crossed Broad River, where an attack was 
apprehended. Not finding the enemy, they halted, lighted 
their fires, made their morning's meal, and took a brief 
repose. By nine o'clock they were again on the march. 
The rainy night had been succeeded by a bright October 
morning, and all were in high spirits. Ferguson, they 
learned, had taken the road toward King's Mountain, about 
twelve miles distant. When within three miles of it their 
scouts brought in word that he had taken post on its summit. 
The officers now held a short consultation on horseback, and 
then proceeded. The position taken by Ferguson was a 
strong one. King's Mountain rises out of a broken country, 
and is detached, on the north, from inferior heights by a 
deep valley, so as to resemble an insulated promontory about 

432 U/orl{8 of U/asbin^toi) Iruio$ 

half a mile in length with sloping sides, excepting on the 
north. The mountain was covered for the most part with 
lofty forest trees free from underwood, interspersed with 
bowlders and masses of gray rock. The forest was suffi- 
ciently open to give free passage to horsemen. 

As the Americans drew nearer, they could occasionally, 
through openings of the woodland, descry the glittering of 
arms along a level ridge, forming the crest of King's Moun- 
tain. This, Ferguson had made his stronghold; boasting 
that "if all the rebels out of hell should attack him, they 
would not drive him from it." 

Dismounting at a small stream which runs through a 
ravine, the Americans picketed their horses or tied them 
to the branches of the trees, and gave them in charge of 
a srnaU guard. They then formed themselves into three 
divisions of nearly equal size, and prepared to storm the 
heights on three sides. Campbell, seconded by Shelby, was 
to lead the center division ; Sevier with McDowell the right, 
and Cleveland and Williams the left. The divisions were 
to scale the mountain as nearly as possible at the same time. 
The fighting directions were in frontier style. When once 
in action every one must act for himself. The men were 
not to wait for the word of command, but to take good aim 
and fire as fast as possible. When they could no longer hold 
their ground, they were to get behind trees, or retreat a little, 
and return to the fight, but never to go quite off. 

Campbell allowed time for the flanking divisions to move 
to the right and left along the base of the mountain, and take 
their proper distances ; he then pushed up in front with the 
center division, he and Shelby, each at the head of his men. 
The first firing was about four o'clock, when a picket was 
driven in by Cleveland and Williams on the left, and pursued 

Cife of U/a8i?ir)<$tOQ 433 

up the mountain. Campbell soon arrived within rifle distance 
of the crest of the mountain, whence a sheeted fire of mus- 
ketry was opened upon him. He instantly deployed his men, 
posted them behind trees, and returned the fire with deadly 

Ferguson, exasperated at being thus hunted into this 
mountain fastness, had been chafing in his rocky lair and 
meditating a furious sally. He now rushed out with his 
regulars, made an impetuous charge with the bayonet, and 
dislodging his assailants from their coverts, began to drive 
them down the mountain, they not having a bayonet among 
them. He had not proceeded far when a flanking fire was 
opened by one of the other divisions; facing about and at- 
tacking this he was again successful, when a third fire was 
opened from another quarter. Thus, as fast as one division 
gave way before the bayonet, another came to its relief; 
while those who had given way rallied and returned to the 
charge. The nature of the fighting ground was more favor- 
able to the rifle than the bayonet, and this was a kind of 
warfare in which the frontier men were at home. The 
elevated position of the enemy also was in favor of the 
Americans, securing them from the danger of their own 
cross fire. Ferguson found that he was completely in the 
hunter's toils, beset on every side ; but he stood bravely at 
bay, until the ground around him was strewed with the killed 
and wounded, picked off by the fatal rifle. His men were 
at length broken, and retreated in confusion along the ridge. 
He galloped from place to place endeavoring to rally them, 
when a rifle ball brought him to the ground, and his white 
horse was seen careering down the mountain without a 

This closed the bloody fight; for Ferguson's second 
Vol. XIV.— ***19 

434 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)<$toi) IruiQ<$ 

in command, seeing all further resistance hopeless, hoisted 
a white flag, beat a parley, and sued for quarters. One 
hundred and fifty of the enemy had fallen, and as many had 
been wounded; while of the Americans, but twenty were 
killed, though a considerable number were wounded. Among 
those slain was Colonel James Williams, who had commanded 
the troops of Ninety- Six, and proved himself one of the most 
daring of the partisan leaders. 

Eight hundred and ten men were taken prisoners, one 
hundred of whom were regulars, the rest royalists. The 
rancor awakened by civil war was shown in the treatment 
of some of the prisoners. A court-martial was held the day 
after the battle, and a number of tory prisoners who had 
been bitter in their hostility to the American cause, and 
flagitious in their persecution of their countrymen, were 
hanged. This was to revenge the death of American pris- 
oners hanged at Camden and elsewhere. 

The army of mountaineers and frontier men thus fortui- 
tously congregated, did not attempt to follow up their signal 
blow. They had no general scheme, no plan of campaign; 
it was the spontaneous rising of the sons of the soil, to re- 
venge it on its invaders, and, having effected their purpose, 
they returned in triumph to their homes. 

They were little aware of the importance of their achieve- 
ment. The battle of King's Mountain, inconsiderable as it 
was in the numbers engaged, turned the tide of Southern 
warfare. The destruction of Ferguson and his corps gave 
a complete check to the expedition of Cornwallis, He began 
to fear for the safety of South Carolina, liable to such sudden 
irruptions from the mountains; lest, while he was facing 
to the north, these hordes of stark-riding warriors might 
throw themselves behind him, and produce a popular com- 


Irving, Vol. Fourteen, p. 4.J6. 

Cife of \JJas\)iT)$tor) 435 

bustion in the province he had left. He resolved, therefore, 
to return with all speed to that province and provide for its 

On the 14th of October he commenced his retrograde and 
mortifying march, conducting it in the night, and with such 
hurry and confusion that nearly twenty wagons, laden with 
baggage and supplies, were lost. As he proceeded, the rainy 
season set in; the brooks and rivers became swollen, and 
almost impassable ; the roads deep and miry ; provisions and 
forage scanty ; the troops generally sickly, having no tents. 
Lord Cornwallis himself was seized with a bilious fever, 
which obliged him to halt two days in the Catawba settle- 
ment, and afterward to be conveyed in a wagon, giving 
up the command to Lord Rawdon. 

In the course of this desolate march, the British suffered 
as usual from the vengeance of an outraged country, being 
fired upon from behind trees and other coverts by the yeo- 
manry ; their sentries shot down at their encampments ; their 
foraging parties cut off. "The enemy, 5 ' writes Lord Raw- 
don, "are mostly mounted militia, not to be overtaken by 
our infantry, nor to be safely pursued in this strong country 
by our cavalry." 

For two weeks they were toiling on this retrograde march, 
through deep roads, and a country cut up by water- courses, 
with the very elements arrayed against them. At length, 
after fording the Catawba where it was six hundred yards 
wide, and three* and a half deep, and where a handful of 
riflemen might have held them in check, the army arrived 
at "Winnsborough, in South Carolina. Hence, by order of 
Cornwallis, Lord Rawdon wrote on the 24th of October 
to Brigadier-general Leslie, who was at that time in the 
Chesapeake, with the force detached by Sir Henry Clinton 

436 U/orl^s of U/asI^ip^toi) Iruin$ 

for a descent upon Virginia, suggesting the expediency of 
his advancing to North Carolina for the purpose of co-opera- 
tion with Cornwallis, who feared to proceed far from South 
Carolina, lest it should be again in insurrection. 

In the meantime his lordship took post at Winnsborough. 
It was a central position, where he might cover the country 
from partisan incursions, obtain forage and supplies, and 
await the co-operation of General Leslie. 


Marion— His Character— By-names— Haunts — Tarleton in Quest of 
him— Sumter on the West Side of the Santee— His Affair with 
Tarleton at Black Stock Hill — Gates at Hillsborough — His Do- 
mestic Misfortunes — Arrival of Greene— His Considerate Con- 
duct — Gates Retires to his Estate — Condition of the Army — 
Stratagem of Colonel Washington at Clermont — Morgan de- 
tached to the District of Ninety-Six — Greene posts himself on 
the Pedee 

The victory at King's Mountain had set the partisan 
spirit throughout the country in a blaze. Francis Marion 
was soon in the field. He had been made a brigadier-gen- 
eral by Governor Rutledge, but his brigade, as it was called, 
was formed of neighbors and friends, and was continually 
fluctuating in numbers., He was nearly fifty years of age, 
and small of stature, but hardy, healthy, and vigorous. 
Brave but not braggart, never avoiding danger, but never 
rashly seeking it. Taciturn and abstemious ; a strict disci- 
plinarian : careful of the lives of his men, but little mindful 
of his own life. Just in his dealings, free from everything 
selfish or mercenary, and incapable of a meanness. He had 
his haunts and strongholds in the morasses of the Pedee and 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)<$toi) 437 

Black River. His men were hardy and abstemious as him- 
self ; they ate their meat without salt, often subsisted on 
potatoes, were scantily clad, and almost destitute of blankets. 
Marion was full of stratagems and expedients. Sallying 
forth from his morasses, he would overrun the lower dis- 
tricts, pass the Santee, beat up the small posts in the vicinity 
of Charleston, cut up the communication between that city 
and Camden; and having struck some signal blow, so as to 
rouse the vengeance of the enemy, would retreat again into 
his fenny fastnesses. Hence the British gave him the by- 
name of the Swamp Fox, but those of his countrymen who 
knew his courage, his loftiness of spirit, and spotless integ- 
rity, considered him the Bayard of the South. 

Tarleton, who was on duty in that part of the country, 
undertook, as he said, to draw the swamp fox from his cover. 
He accordingly marched cautiously down the east bank of 
the Wateree with a body of dragoons and infantry, in com- 
pact order. The fox, however, kept close; he saw that the 
enemy was too strong for him. Tarleton now changed his 
plan. By day he broke up his force into small detachments 
or patrols, giving them orders to keep near enough to each 
other to render mutual support if attacked, and to gather 
together at night. 

The artifice had its effect. Marion sallied forth from his 
covert just before daybreak to make an attack upon one of 
these detachments, when, to his surprise, he found himself 
close upon the British camp. Perceiving the snare that had 
been spread for him, he made a rapid retreat. A close pur- 
suit took place. For seven hours Marion was hunted from 
one swamp and fastness to another ; several stragglers of his 
band were captured, and Tarleton was in strong hope of 
bringing him into action, when an express came spurring 

438 U/or^s of \JJastyT)$tOT) Irvir?$ 

from Cornwallis, calling for the immediate services of him- 
self and his dragoons in another quarter. 

Sumter was again in the field! That indefatigable par- 
tisan, having recruited a strong party in the mountainous 
country to which he retreated after his defeat on the Wateree, 
had reappeared on the west side of the Santee, repulsed 
a British party sent against him, killing its leader; then, 
crossing Broad River, had effected a junction with Colonels 
Clark and Brannon, and now menaced the British posts in 
the district of Ninety- Six. 

It was to disperse this head of partisan war that Tarleton 
was called off from beleaguering Marion. Advancing with 
his accustomed celerity, he thought to surprise Sumter on 
the Enoree River. A deserter apprised the latter of his dan- 
ger. He pushed across the river, but was hotly pursued, 
and his rearguard roughly handled. He now made for the 
Tyger River, noted for turbulence and rapidity; once be- 
yond this, he might disband his followers in the woods. 
Tarleton, to prevent his passing it unmolested, spurred for- 
ward in advance of his main body with one hundred and 
seventy dragoons, and eighty mounted men of the infantry. 
Before five o'clock (Nov. 20) his advanced guard overtook 
and charged the rearguard of the Americans, who retreated 
to the main body. Sumter finding it impossible to cross 
Tyger River in safety, and being informed that the enemy, 
thus pressing upon him, were without infantry or cannon, 
took post on Black Stock Hill, with a rivulet and rail fence 
in front, the Tyger River in the rear and on the right flank, 
and a large log barn on the left. The barn was turned into 
a fortress, and a part of the force stationed in it to fire through 
the apertures between the logs. 

Tarleton halted on an opposite height to await the arrival 

Cife of UfastyvqtoT) 439 

of his infantry, and part of his men dismounted to ease their 
horses. Sumter seized this moment for an attack. He was 
driven back after some sharp fighting. The enemy pursued, 
but were severely galled by the fire from the log barn. En- 
raged at seeing his men shot down, Tarleton charged with 
his cavalry, but found it impossible to dislodge the Ameri- 
cans from their rustic fortress. At the approach of night he 
fell back to join his infantry, leaving the ground strewed 
with his killed and wounded. The latter were treated with 
great humanity by Sumter. The loss of the Americans was 
only three killed and four wounded. 

Sumter, who had received a severe wound in the breast, 
remained several hours on the field of action; but, under- 
standing the enemy would be powerfully re-enforced in the 
morning, he crossed the Tyger River in the night. He was 
then placed on a litter between two horses, and thus con- 
ducted across the country by a few faithful adherents. The 
rest of his little army dispersed themselves through the 
woods. Tarleton, finding his enemy had disappeared, 
claimed the credit of a victory; but those who considered 
the affair rightly declared that he had received a severe 

While the attention of the enemy was thus engaged by 
the enterprises of Sumter and Marion and their swamp war- 
riors, General Gates was gathering together the scattered 
fragments of his army at Hillsborough. When all were col- 
lected, his whole force, exclusive of militia, did not exceed 
fourteen hundred men. It was, as he said, " rather a 
shadow than a substance." His troops, disheartened by 
defeat, were in a forlorn state, without clothing, without 
pay, and sometimes without provisions. Destitute of tents, 
they constructed hovels of fence rails, poles, brushwood, 

440 ll/orl^s of U/as^ip^tor> Irving 

and the stalks of Indian corn, the officers faring no better 
than the men. 

The vanity of Gates was completely cut down by his late 
reverses. He had lost, too, the confidence of his officers, 
and was unable to maintain discipline among his men ; who 
through their irregularities became a terror to the country 

On the retreat of Cornwallis from Charlotte, Gates 
advanced to that place to make it his winter quarters. 
Huts were ordered to be built, and a regular encamp- 
ment was commenced. Smallwood, with a body of 
militia, was stationed below on the Catawba to guard 
the road leading through Camden; and further down 
was posted Brigadier-general Morgan, with a corps of 
light troops. 

To add to his depression of spirits, Gates received the mel- 
ancholy intelligence of the death of an only son, and, while 
he was yet writhing under the blow, came official dispatches 
informing him of his being superseded in command. A let- 
ter from Washington, we are told, accompanied them, sym- 
pathizing with him in his domestic misfortunes, adverting 
with peculiar delicacy to his reverses in battle, assuring him 
of his undiminished confidence in his zeal and capacity, and 
his readiness to give him the command of the left wing of 
his army as soon as he could make it convenient to join 

The effect of this letter was overpowering. Gates was 
found walking about his room in the greatest agitation, press- 
ing the letter to his lips, breaking forth into ejaculations of 
gratitude and admiration, and when he could find utterance 
to his thoughts, declared that its tender sympathy and con- 
siderate delicacy had conveyed more consolation and delight 

Cife of U/a8^ip<$toi> 441 

to his heart than he had believed it possible ever to have felt 
again. * 

General Greene arrived at Charlotte on the 2d of Decem- 
ber. On his way from the North he had made arrangements 
for supplies from the different States ; and had left the Baron 
Steuben in Virginia to defend that State and procure and 
send on re-enforcements and stores for the Southern army. 
On the day following his arrival, Greene took formal com- 
mand. The delicacy with which he conducted himself to- 
ward his unfortunate predecessor is said to have been "edi- 
fying to the army." Consulting with his officers as to the 
court of inquiry on the conduct of General Gates, ordered 
by Congress ; it was determined that there was not a suffi- 
cient number of general officers in camp to sit upon it ; that 
the state of General Gates's feelings, in consequence of the 
death of his son, disqualified him from entering upon the 
task of his defense ; and that it would be indelicate in the ex- 
treme to press on him an investigation which his honor would 
not permit him to defer. Besides, added Greene, his is a 
case of misfortune, and the most honorable course to be pur- 
sued, both with regard to General Gates and the govern- 
ment, is to make such representations as may obtain a re- 
vision of the order of Congress directing an inquiry into his 
conduct. In this opinion all present concurred. 

Gates, in fact, when informed in the most delicate man- 
ner of the order of Congress, was urgent tha a court of in- 
quiry should be immediately convened. He acknowledged 
there was some important evidence that could not at present 

* Related by Dr. William Reed, at that time superintend- 
ent of the Hospital department at Hillsborough, to Alexan- 
der Garden, aid-de-camp to Greene. — Garden's Anecdotes, 
p. 350. 

€42 U/orKs of U/asl?ir)$tor) Irvipo; 

be procured ; but he relied on the honor and justice of the 
court to make allowance for the deficiency. He was ulti- 
mately brought to acquiesce in the decision of the council of 
war for the postponement, but declared that he could not 
think of serving until the matter should have been properly 
investigated. He determined to pass the interim on his 
estate in Virginia. Greene, in a letter to Washington (De- 
cember 7th), writes: " General Gates sets out to-morrow for 
the northward. Many officers think very favorably of his 
conduct, and that, whenever an inquiry takes place, he will 
honorably acquit himself." 

The kind and considerate conduct of Greene, on the pres- 
ent occasion, completely subdued the heart of Gates. The 
coldness, if not ill-will, with which he had hitherto regarded 
him, was at an end, and, in all his subsequent correspond- 
ence with him, he addressed him in terms of affection. 

We take pleasure in noting the generous conduct of the 
General Assembly of Virginia toward Gates. It was in ses- 
sion when he arrived at Richmond. " Those fathers of the 
commonwealth," writes Colonel H. Lee, in his Memoirs, 
* 'appointed a committee of their body to wait on the van- 
quished general, and assure him of their high regard and 
esteem, that their remembrance of his former glorious ser- 
vices was never to be obliterated by any reverse of fortune ; 
but, ever mindful of his great merit, they would omit no 
opportunity of testifying to the world the gratitude which 
Virginia, as a member of the American Union, owed to him 
in his military character." 

Gates was sensibly affected and comforted by this kind 
reception, and retired with a lightened heart to his farm in 
Berkeley County. 

The whole force at Charlotte, when Greene took com 

Cife of ll/as^ir^tor? 443 

mand, did not much exceed twenty- three hundred men, and 
more than half of them were militia. It had been broken in 
spirit by the recent defeat. The officers had fallen into hab- 
its of negligence; the soldiers were loose and disorderly, 
without tents and camp equipage; badly clothed and fed, 
and prone to relieve their necessities by depredating upon 
the inhabitants. Greene's letters written at the time abound 
with military aphorisms suggested by the squalid scene 
around him. " There must be either pride or principle," 
said he, "to make a soldier. No man will think himself 
bound to fight the battles of a State that leaves him perish- 
ing for want of covering; nor can you inspire a soldier with 
the sentiment of pride while his situation renders him an ob- 
ject of pity, rather than of envy Good feeding is the first 
principle of good service. It is impossible to preserve dis- 
cipline where troops are in want of everything — to attempt 
severity will only thin the ranks by a more hasty desertion." 

The state of the country in which he was to act was 
equally discouraging. "It is so extensive," said he, "and 
the powers of government so weak, that everybody does as 
he pleases. The inhabitants are much divided in their polit- 
ical sentiments, and the whigs and tories pursue each other 
with little less than savage fury The back country people 
are bold and daring ; but the people upon the seashore are 
sickly, and but indifferent militia." 

"War here," observes he in another letter, "is upon a 
very different scale to what it is at the northward. It is 
a plain business there. The geography of the country re- 
duces its operations to two or three points. But here it is 
everywhere ; and the country is so full of deep rivers and 
impassable creeks and swamps that you are always liable to 
misfortunes of a capital nature. The whigs and tories," 

444 U/or^s of U/a8tyir}$tor> Iruir?$ 

adds he, "are continually out in small parties, and all the 
middle country is so disaffected that you cannot lay in the 
most trifling magazine, or send a wagon through the coun- 
try with the least article of stores without a guard." 

A recent exploit had given some animation to the troops. 
Lieutenant-colonel Washington, detached with a troop of 
light-horse to check a foraging party of the enemy, scoured 
the country within thirteen miles of Camden. Here he 
found a body of loyalist militia strongly posted at Cler- 
mont, the seat of Colonel Rugeley, their tory commander. 
They had ensconced themselves in a large barn, built of logs, 
and had fortified it by a slight intrenchment and a line of 
abatis. To attack it with cavalry was useless. Colonel 
"Washington dismounted a part of his troops to appear like- 
infantry ; placed on two wagon wheels the trunk of a pine 
tree, shaped and painted to look like a field -piece, brought it 
to bear upon the enemy, and, displaying his cavalry, sent in a 
flag summoning the garrison to surrender instantly, on pain 
of having their log castle battered about their ears. The 
garrison, to the number of one hundred and twelve men, 
with Colonel Rugeley at their head, gave themselves up 
prisoners of war.* Cornwallis, mentioning the ludicrous 
affair in a letter to Tarleton, adds sarcastically: "Rugeley 
will not be made a brigadier," The unlucky colonel never 
again appeared in arms. 

The first care of General Greene was to reorganize his 
army. He went to work quietly but resolutely : called no 
councils of war ; communicated his plans and intentions to 
few, and such only as were able and willing to aid in execut- 
ing them. "If I cannot inspire respect and confidence by an 
independent conduct," said he, "it will be impossible to in- 

* Williams' Narrative. 

Cife of \JJastyT)Qtor) 445 

still discipline and order among the troops." His efforts 
were successful; the army soon began to assume what he 
termed a military complexion. 

He was equally studious to promote harmony among his 
officers, of whom a number were young, gallant, and intelli- 
gent. It was his delight to have them at his genial but sim- 
ple table, where parade and restraint were banished, and 
pleasant and instructive conversation was promoted; which, 
next to reading, was his great enjoyment. The manly be- 
nignity of his manners diffused itself round his board, and 
a common sentiment of affection for their chief united the 
young men in a kind of brotherhood. 

Finding the country around Charlotte exhausted by re- 
peated foragings, he separated the army into two divisions. 
One, about one thousand strong, was commanded by Briga- 
dier-general Morgan, of rifle renown, and was composed of 
four hundred Continental infantry, under Lieutenant-colonel 
Howard of the Maryland line, two companies of Virginia 
militia, under Captains Tripplet and Tate, and one hundred 
dragoons, under Lieutenant-colonel Washington. "With these 
Morgan was detached toward the district of Ninety-Six, in 
South Carolina, with orders to take a position near the con- 
fluence of the Pacolet and Broad Rivers, and assemble the 
militia of the country. With the other division, Greene 
made a march of toilful difficulty through a barren country, 
with wagons and horses quite unfit for service, to Hick's 
Creek, in Chesterfield district, on the east side of the Pedee 
River opposite the Cheraw Hills. There he posted himself, 
on the 26th, partly to discourage the enemy from attempting 
to possess themselves of Cross Creek, which would give them 
command of the greatest part of the provisions of the lower 
country — partly to form a camp of repose; "and no army,'' 

446 U/or^s of U/asfrip^tor; Irving 

writes he, "ever wanted one more, the troops having totally 
lost their discipline." 

"I will not pain your Excellency," writes he to Wash- 
ington, "with further accounts of the wants and sufferings 
of this army ; but I am not without great apprehension of its 
entire dissolution, unless the commissary's and quartermas- 
ter's departments can be rendered more competent to the de- 
mands of the service. Nor are the clothing and hospital 
departments upon a better footing. Not a shilling in the 
pay chest, nor a prospect of any for months to come. This 
is really making bricks without straw." 

Governor Rutledge also wrote to "Washington from 
Greene's camp, on the 28th of December, imploring aid 
for South Carolina. "Some of the stanch inhabitants of 
Charleston," writes he, "have been sent to St. Augustine, 
and others are to follow. The enemy have hanged many 
people, who, from fear, or the impracticability of removing, 
had received protections or given paroles, and from attach- 
ment to, had afterward taken part with us. They have 
burned a great number of houses, and turned many women, 
formerly of good fortune, with their children (whom their 
husbands or parents, from an unwillingness to join the ene- 
my, had left), almost naked into the woods. Their cruelty 
and the distresses of the people are indeed beyond descrip- 
tion. I entreat your Excellency, therefore, seriously to con- 
sider the unhappy state of South Carolina and Georgia; and 
I rely on your humanity and your knowledge of their im- 
portance to the Union for such speedy and effectual support 
as may compel the enemy to evacuate every part of these 
countries." * 

Correspondence of the Revolution, iii. 188. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) £47 


Hostile Embarkations to the South— Arnold in Command— Necessi- 
tous State of the Country— Washington urges a Foreign Loan 
— Mission of Colonel Laurens in France to seek Aid in Men and 
Money — Grievances of the Pennsylvania Line — Mutiny — Nego- 
tiations with the Mutineers— Articles of Accommodation— Pol- 
icy doubted by Washington — Rigorous Course adopted by him 
with other Malcontents— Successful— Ratification of the Articles 
of Confederation of the States 

The occurrences recorded in the last few chapters made 
Washington apprehend a design on the part of the enemy to 
carry the stress of war into the Southern States. Conscious 
that he was the man to whom all looked in time of emer- 
gency, and who was, in a manner, responsible for the gen- 
eral course of military affairs, he deeply felt the actual im- 
potency of his position. 

In a letter to Franklin, who was minister-plenipotentiary 
at the court of Versailles, he strongly expresses his chagrin. 
" Disappointed of the second division of French troops, but 
more especially in the expected naval superiority, which was 
the pivot upon which everything turned, we have been com- 
pelled to spend an inactive campaign, after a flattering pros- 
pect at the opening of it, and vigorous struggles to make it 
a decisive one on our part. Latterly we have been obliged 
to become spectators of a succession of detachments from the 
army at New York in aid of Lord Cornwallis, while our 
naval weakness, and the political dissolution of a great part 
of our army, put it out of our power to counteract them at 
the southward, or to take advantage of them here." 

448 U/or^s of ll/as^ir^ton Iruir>$ 

The last of these detachments to the South took place on 
the 20th of December, but was not destined, as Washington 
had supposed, for South Carolina. Sir Henry Clinton had 
received information that the troops already mentioned as 
being under General Leslie in the Chesapeake, had, by or- 
ders from Cornwallis, sailed for Charleston, to re-enforce 
his lordship, and the detachment was to take their place in 
Virginia. It was composed of British, German, and refugee 
troops, about seventeen hundred strong, and was commanded 
by Benedict Arnold, now a brigadier-general in his maj- 
esty's service. Sir Henry Clinton, who distrusted the fidel- 
ity of the man he had corrupted, sent with him ' Colonels 
Dundas and Simcoe, experienced officers, by whose advice 
he was to be guided in every important measure. He was 
to make an incursion into Virginia, destroy the public maga- 
zines, assemble and arm the loyalists, and hold himself ready 
to co-operate with Lord Cornwallis. He embarked his troops 
in a fleet of small vessels, and departed on his enterprise ani- 
mated by the rancorous spirit of a renegade, and prepared, 
as he vaunted, to give the Americans a blow "that would 
make the whole continent shake." We shall speak of his 
expedition hereafter. 

As Washington beheld one hostile armament after an- 
other winging its way to the South, and received applica- 
tions from that quarter for assistance, which he had not the 
means to furnish, it became painfully apparent to him that 
the efforts to carry on the war had exceeded the natural ca- 
pabilities of the country. Its widely diffused population, 
and the composition and temper of some of its people, ren- 
dered it difficult to draw together its resources. Commerce 
was almost extinct; there was not sufficient natural wealth 
on which to found a revenue; paper currency had depreci- 

Cife of U/asi?ip^tor> 449 

ated through want of funds for its redemption until it was 
nearly worthless. The mode of supplying the army by as- 
sessing a proportion of the productions of the earth had 
proved ineffectual, oppressive, and productive of an alarm- 
ing opposition. Domestic loans yielded but trifling assist- 
ance. The patience of the army was nearly exhausted ; the 
people were dissatisfied with the mode of supporting the war, 
and there was reason to apprehend that, under the pressure 
of impositions of a new and odious kind, they might imagine 
they had only exchanged one kind of tyranny for another. 

We give but a few of many considerations which Wash- 
ington was continually urging upon the attention of Con- 
gress in his full and perspicuous manner; the end of which 
was to enforce his opinion that a foreign loan was indispen- 
sably necessary to a continuance of the war. 

His earnest counsels and entreaties were at length suc- 
cessful in determining Congress to seek aid both in men and 
money from abroad. Accordingly, on the 28th of Decem- 
ber, they commissioned Lieutenant-colonel John Laurens 
special minister at the court of Versailles, to apply for such 
aid. The situation he had held, as aid-de-camp to the com- 
mander-in-chief, had given him an opportunity of observing 
the course of affairs, and acquainting himself with the wants 
and resources of the country; and he was instructed to con- 
fer with Washington, previous to his departure, as to the 
objects of his mission. Not content with impressing him 
verbally with his policy, Washington gave him a letter of 
instructions for his government, and to be used as occasion 
might require. In this he advised him to solicit a loan suffi- 
ciently large to be a foundation for substantial arrangements 
of finance, to revive public credit, and give vigor to future 
operations ; next to a loan of money, a naval force was to be 

450 U/or^s of U/a8l?in$ton Iruin<$ 

desired, sufficient to maintain a constant superiority on the 
American coast; also additional succor in troops. In a 
word, a means of co-operation by sea and land, with purse 
and sword, competent by a decided effort to attain, once for 
all, the great objects of the alliance, the liberty and inde- 
pendence of the United States. 

He was to show, at the same time, the ample means pos- 
sessed by the nation to repay the loan, from its comparative 
freedom from debt, and its vast and valuable tracts of un- 
settled lands, the variety and fertility of its climates and 
soils, and its advantages of every kind for a lucrative com- 
merce, and rapid increase of population and prosperity. 

Scarce had Colonel Laurens been appointed to this mis- 
sion, when a painful occurrence proved the urgent necessity 
of the required aid. 

In the arrangements for winter quarters, the Pennsyl- 
vania line, consisting of six regiments, was hutted near 
Morristown. These troops had experienced the hardships 
and privations common to the whole army. General Wayne, 
who commanded them, had a soldier's sympathy in the suf- 
ferings of his men, and speaks of them in feeling language: 
"Poorly clothed, badly fed, and worse paid," writes he, 
1 'some of them not having received a paper dollar for near 
twelve months ; exposed to winter's piercing cold, to drifting 
snows and chilling blasts, with no protection but old worn- 
out coats, tattered linen overalls, and but one blanket be- 
tween three men. In this situation the enemy begin to work 
upon their passions, and have found means to circulate some 
proclamations among them. . . . The officers in general, 
as well as myself, find it necessary to stand for hours every 
day exposed to wind and weather among the poor naked fel- 
lows, while they are working at their huts and redoubts, 

Cife of U/as^ip^tor> 451 

often assisting with our own hands, in order to produce a 
conviction to their minds that we share, and more than 
share, every vicissitude in common with them: sometimes 
asking to participate in their bread and water. The good 
effect of this conduct is very conspicuous, and prevents their 
murmuring in public ; but the delicate mind and eye of hu- 
manity are hurt, very much hurt, at their visible distress 
and private complainings." 

How strongly is here depicted the trials to which the sol- 
diers of the Revolution were continually subjected. But the 
Pennsylvania line had an additional grievance peculiar to 
themselves. Many of them had enlisted to serve "for three 
years, or during war," that is to say, for less than three 
years should the war cease in less time. "When, however, 
having served for three years, they sought their discharge, 
the officers, loth to lose such experienced soldiers, interpreted 
the terms of enlistment to mean three years, or to the end of 
the war, should it continue for a longer time. 

This chicanery naturally produced great exasperation. It 
was heightened by the conduct of a deputation from Penn- 
sylvania, which, while it left veteran troops unpaid, distrib- 
uted gold by handfuls among raw six-month levies, whose 
time was expiring, as bounties on their re-enlisting for the 

The first day of the New Year arrived. The men were 
excited by an extra allowance of ardent spirits. In the 
evening, at a preconcerted signal, a great part of the Penn- 
sylvania line, non-commissioned officers included, turned 
out under arms, declaring their intention to march to Phil- 
adelphia, and demand redress from Congress. "Wayne en- 
deavored to pacify them ; they were no longer to be pacified 
by words. He cocked his pistols ; in an instant their bayo- 

452 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii}$tor) Iruip^ 

nets were at his breast. "We love, we respect you," cried 
they, "but you are a dead man if you fire. Do not mistake 
us ; we are not going to the enemy : were they now to come 
out, you would see us fight under your orders with as much 
resolution and alacrity as ever." * 

Their threat was not an idle one. In an attempt to sup- 
press the mutiny there was a bloody affray, in which num- 
bers were wounded on both sides ; among whom were several 
officers. One captain was killed. 

Three regiments which had taken no part in the mutiny 
were paraded under their officers. The mutineers compelled 
them to join their ranks. Their number being increased to 
about thirteen hundred, they seized upon six field-pieces, and 
set out in the night for Philadelphia under command of their 

Fearing the enemy might take advantage of this out- 
break, Wayne detached a Jersey brigade to Chatham, and 
ordered the militia to be called out there. Alarm fires were 
kindled upon the hills; alarm guns boomed from post to 
post; the country was soon on the alert. 

Wayne was not "Mad Anthony" on the present occasion. 
All his measures were taken with judgment and forecast. 
He sent provisions after the mutineers, lest they should sup- 
ply their wants from the country people by force. Two offi- 
cers of rank spurred to Philadelphia, to apprise Congress of 
the approach of the insurgents, and put it upon its guard. 
Wayne sent a dispatch with news of the outbreak to Wash- 
ington; he then mounted his horse, and accompanied by 
Colonels Butler and Stewart, two officers popular with the 
troops, set off after the mutineers, either to bring them to 

* Quincy's Memoir of Major Shaw, p. 85. 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tor> 453 

a halt, or to keep with them, and seek every occasion to 
exert a favorable influence over them. 

Washington received Wayne's letter at his headquarters 
at New Windsor on the 3d of January. His first impulse 
was to set out at once for the insurgent camp. Second 
thoughts showed the impolicy of such a move. Before he 
could overtake the mutineers, they would either have re- 
turned to their duty or their affair would be in the hands 
of Congress. How far, too, could his own troops be left 
with safety, distressed as they were for clothing and provis- 
ions? Besides, the navigation of the Hudson was still open ; 
should any disaffection appear in the neighboring garrison 
of West Point, the British might send up an expedition from 
New York to take advantage of it. Under these circum- 
stances he determined to continue at New Windsor. 

He wrote to Wayne, however, approving of his intention 
to keep with the troops, and improve every favorable inter- 
val of passion. His letter breathes that paternal spirit with 
which he watched over the army; and that admirable mod- 
eration mingled with discipline with which he managed and 
molded their wayward moods. "Opposition," said he, "as 
it did not succeed in the first instance, cannot be effectual 
while the men remain together, but will keep alive resent- 
ment, and may tempt them to turn about and go in a body 
to the enemy ; who, by their emissaries, will use every argu- 
ment and means in their power to persuade them that it is 
their only asylum; which, if they find their passage stopped 
at the Delaware, and hear that the Jersey militia are collect- 
ing in their rear, they may think but too probable. I would, 
therefore, recommend it to you to cross the Delaware with 
them, draw from them what they conceive to be their prin- 
cipal grievances, and promise faithfully to represent to Con- 

454 U/or^s of U/a8l?ir)$toi) Iruipo; 

gress and to the State the substance of them, and endeavor 
to obtain a redress. If they could be stopped at Bristol or 
Germantown, the better. I look upon it, that if you can 
bring them to a negotiation, matters may be afterward ac- 
commodated ; but that an attempt to reduce them by force 
will either drive them to the enemy, or dissipate them in 
such a manner that they will never be recovered." 

How clearly one reads in this letter that temperate and 
magnanimous spirit which moved over the troubled waters 
of the Revolution, allayed the fury of the storms, and con- 
trolled everything into peace. 

Having visited the Highland posts of the Hudson, and 
satisfied himself of the fidelity of the garrisons, Washington 
ordered a detachment of eleven hundred men to be ready to 
march at a moment's warning. General Knox, also, was 
dispatched by him to the Eastern States, to represent to their 
governments the alarming crisis produced by a long neglect 
of the subsistence of the army, and to urge them to send on 
immediately money, clothing, and other supplies for their 
respective lines. 

In the meantime, as Washington had apprehended, Sir 
Henry Clinton received intelligence at New York of the 
mutiny, and hastened to profit by it. Emissaries were dis- 
patched to the camp of the mutineers, holding out offers of 
pardon, protection, and ample pay, if they would return to 
their allegiance to the crown. On the 4th of January, 
although the rain poured in torrents, troops and cannon 
were hurried on board of vessels of every description, and 
transported to Staten Island, Sir Henry accompanying 
them. There they were to be held in readiness, either 
to land at Amboy in the Jerseys, should the revolters 
be drawn in that direction, or to make a dash at West 

Cife of U/asfyir^tor; 455 

Point, should the departure of Washington leave that post 

General W ayne and his companions, Colonels Butler and 
Stewart, had overtaken the insurgent troops on the 3d of 
January, at Middlebrook. They were proceeding in military 
form, under the control of a self- constituted board of ser- 
geants whose orders were implicitly obeyed. A sergeant- 
major, who had formerly deserted from the British army, 
had the general command. 

Conferences were held by Wayne with sergeants dele- 
gated from each regiment. They appeared to be satisfied 
with the mode and promises of redress held out to them ; but 
the main body of the mutineers persisted in revolt, and pro- 
ceeded on the next day to Princeton. Wayne hoped they 
might continue further on, and would gladly have seen them 
across the Delaware, beyond the influence of the enemy; but 
their leaders clung to Princeton, lest in further movements 
they might not be able to keep their followers together. 
Their proceedings continued to be orderly; military forms 
were still observed; they obeyed their leaders, behaved well 
to the people of the country, and committed no excesses. 

General Wayne and Colonels Butler and Stewart remained 
with them in an equivocal position; popular, but without 
authority, and almost in durance. The insurgents professed 
themselves still ready to march under them against the 
enemy, but would permit none other of their former officers 
to come among them. The Marquis de Lafayette, General 
St. Clair, and Colonel Laurens, the newly appointed minister 
to France, arrived at the camp and were admitted ; but after- 
ward were ordered away at a short notice. 

The news of the revolt caused great consternation in 
Philadelphia. A committee of Congress set off to meet the 

456 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruir;$ 

insurgents, accompanied by Reed, the President of Pennsyl- 
vania, and one or two other officers, and escorted by a city 
troop of horse. The committee halted at Trenton, whence 
President Reed wrote to Wayne, requesting a personal inter- 
view at four o'clock in the afternoon, at four miles' distance 
from Princeton. Wayne was moreover told to inform the 
troops that he (Reed) would be there, to receive any propo- 
sitions from them and redress any injuries they might have 
sustained ; but that, after the indignities they had offered to 
the marquis and General St. Clair, he could not venture 
to put himself in their power. 

Wayne, knowing that the letter was intended for his 
troops more than for himself, read it publicly on the parade. 
It had a good effect upon the sergeants and many of the 
men. The idea that the President of their State should have 
to leave the seat of government and stoop to treat with them 
touched their sectional pride and their home feelings. They 
gathered round the horseman who had brought the letter, 
and inquired anxiously whether President Reed was unkindly 
disposed toward them; intimating privately their dislike to 
the business in which they were engaged. 

Still, it was not thought prudent for President Reed to 
trust himself within their camp. Wayne promised to meet 
him on the following day (7th), though it seemed uncertain 
whether he was master of himself, or whether he was not 
a kind of prisoner. Tidings had just been received of the 
movements of Sir Henry Clinton, and of tempting overtures 
he intended to make, and it was feared the men might listen 
to them. Three of the light-horse were sent in the direc- 
tion of Amboy to keep a lookout for any landing of the 

At this critical juncture, two of Sir Henry's emissaries 

Cife of \JJas\)\T)$tOT) 457 

arrived in the camp, and delivered to the leaders of the mal- 
contents a paper containing his seductive proposals and 
promises. The mutineers, though openly arrayed in arms 
against their government, spurned at the idea of turning 
"Arnolds," as they termed it. The emissaries were seized 
and conducted to General Wayne, who placed them in con- 
finement, promising that they should be liberated, should 
the pending negotiation fail. 

This incident had a great effect in inspiring hope of the 
ultimate loyalty of the troops; and the favorable representa- 
tions of the temper of the men, made by General Wayne 
in a personal interview, determined President Reed to ven- 
ture among them. The consequences of their desertion to 
the enemy were too alarming to be risked. "I have but 
one life to lose," said he, "and my country has the first 
claim to it." * 

As he approached Princeton with his suite, he found 
guards regularly posted, who turned out and saluted him 
in military style. The whole line was drawn out under arms 
near the college and the artillery on the point of firing a 
salute. He prevented it, lest it should alarm the country. 
It was a hard task for him to ride along the line as if review- 
ing troops regularly organized ; but the crisis required some 
sacrifice of the kind. The sergeants were all in the places 
of their respective officers, and saluted the president as he 
passed; never were mutineers more orderly and decorous. 

The propositions now offered to the troops were : To dis- 
charge all those who had enlisted indefinitely for three years 
or during the war; the fact to be inquired into by three 
commissioners appointed by the executive — where the orig- 

* Letter to the Executive Council. 
Vol. XIV.— ***20 

458 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$tor) Iruir}^ 

inal enlistment could not be produced in evidence, the oath 
of the soldier to suffice. 

To give immediate certificates for the deficit in their pay, 
caused by the depreciation of the currency, and the arrear- 
ages to be settled as soon as circumstances would permit. 

To furnish them immediately with certain specified ar- 
ticles of clothing which were most wanted. 

These propositions proving satisfactory, the troops set 
out for Trenton, where the negotiation was concluded. 

Most of the artillerists and many of the infantry obtained 
their discharges; some on- their oaths, others on account of 
the vague terms under which they had been enlisted ; forty 
day's furlough was given to the rest, and thus, for a time, 
the whole insurgent force was dissolved. 

The two spies who had tampered with the fidelity of the 
troops were tried by a court-martial, found guilty, and hanged 
at the cross-roads near Trenton. A reward of fifty guineas 
each was offered to two sergeants who had arrested and 
delivered them up. They declined accepting it ; saying they 
had merely acted by order of the board of sergeants. The 
hundred guineas were then offered to the board. Their 
reply is worthy of record. "It was not," said they, "for 
the sake or through any expectation of reward, but for the 
love of our country, that we sent the spies immediately to 
General "Wayne; we therefore do not consider ourselves 
entitled to any other reward but the love of our country, 
and do jointly agree to accept of no other." 

The accommodation entered into with the mutineers of 
the Pennsylvania line appeared to Washington of doubtful 
policy and likely to have a pernicious effect on the whole 
army. His apprehensions were soon justified by events. On 
the night of the 20th of January, a part of the Jersey troops, 

Cife of U/as^ir)^tOQ 459 

stationed at Pompton, rose in arms, claiming the same terms 
just yielded to the Pennsylvanians. For a time it was feared 
the revolt would spread throughout the line. 

Sir Henry Clinton was again on the alert. Troops were 
sent to Staten Island, to be ready to cross into the Jerseys, 
and an emissary was dispatched to tempt the mutineers with 
seductive offers. In this instance, "Washington adopted a 
more rigorous course than in the other. The present insur- 
gents were not so formidable in point of numbers as the 
Pennsylvanians; the greater part of them, also, were for- 
eigners, for whom he felt less sympathy than for native 
troops. He was convinced, too, of the fidelity of the troops 
under his immediate command, who were from the Eastern 
States. A detachment from the Massachusetts line was sent 
under Major-general Howe, who was instructed to compel 
the mutineers to unconditional submission; to grant them 
no terms while in arms, or in a state of resistance; and on 
their surrender instantly to execute a few of the most active 
and incendiary leaders. "You will also try," added he, "to 
avail yourself of the services of the militia, representing 
to them how dangerous to civil liberty is the precedent of 
armed soldiers dictati ug to their country." 

His orders were punctually obeyed, and were crowned 
with complete success. Howe had the good fortune, after 
a tedious night march, to surprise the mutineers napping in 
their huts just at daybreak. Five minutes only were allowed 
them to parade without their arms and give up their ring- 
leaders. This was instantly complied with, and two of them 
were executed on the spot. Thus, the mutiny was quelled, 
the officers resumed their command, and all things were 
restored to order.* 

* Memoir of Major Shaw, by Hon. Josiah Quincy, p. 89, 

460 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)<$toi} Irvip^ 

Thus terminated an insurrection, which, for a time, had 
spread alarm among the friends of American liberty, and 
excited the highest hopes of its foes. The circumstances 
connected with it had ultimately a beneficial effect in 
strengthening the confidence of those friends, by proving 
that, however the Americans might quarrel with their own 
government, nothing could again rally them under the royal 

A great cause of satisfaction to Washington was the rati- 
fication of the Articles of Confederation between the States, 
which took place not long after this agitating juncture. A set 
of articles had been submitted to Congress by Dr. Franklin, 
as far back as 1775. A form had been prepared and digested 
by a committee in 1776, and agreed upon, with some modifi- 
cations, in 1777, but had ever since remained in abeyance, 
in consequence of objections made by individual States. The 
confederation was now complete; and "Washington, in a 
letter to the President of Congress, congratulated him and 
the body over which he presided on an event long wished 
for, and which he hoped would have the happiest effects 
upon the politics of this country and be of essential service 
to our cause in Europe. 

It was, after all, an instrument far less efficacious than 
its advocates had anticipated; but it served an important 
purpose in binding the States together as a nation, and keep- 
ing them from falling asunder into individual powers ? after 
the pressure of external danger should cease to operate. 

Cife of ltfa8l?ir}$too 461 


Expedition of Arnold into Virginia — Buccaneering Ravages — 
Checked by Steuben — Arnold at Portsmouth — Congress re- 
solves to form Heads of Departments — Hamilton suggested 
by Sullivan for Department of Finance — High Opinion of 
him expressed by Washington — Misunderstanding between 
Hamilton and the Commander-in-chief 

The armament with which Arnold boasted he was "to 
shake the continent," met with that boisterous weather 
which often rages along our coast in the winter. His ships 
were tempest- tossed and scattered, and half of his cavalry 
horses and several of his guns had to be thrown overboard. 
It was the close of the year when he anchored in the Chesa- 

Virginia, at the time, was almost in a defenseless state. 
Baron Steuben, who had the general command there, had 
recently detached such of his regular troops as were clothed 
and equipped, to the South, to re-enforce General Greene. 
The remainder, five or six hundred in number, deficient in 
clothing, blankets, and tents, were scarcely fit to take the 
field, and the volunteers and militia lately encamped before 
Portsmouth had been disbanded. Governor Jefferson, on 
hearing of the arrival of the fleet, called out the militia from 
the neighboring counties; but few could be collected on the 
spur of the moment, for the whole country was terror-stricken 
and in confusion. Having land and sea forces at his com- 
mand, Arnold opened the new year with a buccaneering 
ravage. Ascending James River with some small vessels 

462 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)<$tol? Iruipo; 

which he had captured, he landed on the 4th of January 
with nine hundred men at Westover, about twenty-five miles 
below Richmond, and pushed for the latter place, at that 
time little more than a village, though the metropolis of 
Virginia. Halting for the night within twelve miles of it, 
he advanced on the following day with as much military 
parade as possible, so as to strike terror into a militia patrol, 
which fled back to Richmond, reporting that a British force, 
fifteen hundred strong, was at hand. 

It was Arnold's hope to capture the governor; but the 
latter, after providing for the security of as much as possible 
of the public stores, had left Richmond the evening before 
on horseback to join his family at Tuckahoe, whence, on 
the following day, he conveyed them to a place of safety. 
Governor Jefferson got back by noon to Manchester, on the 
opposite side of James River, in time to see Arnold's ma- 
rauders march into the town. Many of the inhabitants had 
fled to the country; some stood terrified spectators on the 
hills; not more than two hundred men were in arms for 
the defense of the place; these, after firing a few volleys, 
retreated to Richmond and Shockoe Hills, whence they were 
driven by the cavalry, and Arnold had possession of the 
capital. He sent some of the citizens to the governor, offer- 
ing to spare the town, provided his ships might come up 
James River to be laden with tobacco from the warehouses. 
His offer was indignantly rejected, whereupon fire was set 
to the public edifices, stores and workshops; private houses 
were pillaged, and a great quantity of tobacco consumed. 

While this was going on, Colonel Simcoe had been de- 
tached to Westham, six miles up the river, where he destroyed 
a cannon foundry and sacked a public magazine ; broke off 
the trunnions of the cannon, and threw into the river the 

Cife of U/a8t>ii}<$toi> 463 

powder which he could not carry away, and, after effecting 
a complete devastation, rejoined Arnold at Richmond, which 
during the ensuing night resounded with the drunken orgies 
of the soldiery. 

Having completed his ravage at Richmond, Arnold re- 
embarked at Westover and fell slowly down the river, land- 
ing occasionally to burn, plunder, and destroy; pursued by 
Steuben with a few Continental troops and all the militia 
that he could muster. General Nelson, also, with similar 
levies opposed him. Lower down the river some skirmishing 
took place, a few of Arnold's troops were killed and a num- 
ber wounded ; but he made his way to Portsmouth, opposite 
Norfolk, where he took post on the 20th of January and pro- 
ceeded to fortify. 

Steuben would have attempted to drive him from this 
position, but his means were totally inadequate. Collecting 
from various parts of the country all the force that could 
be mustered, he so disposed it at different points as to hem 
the traitor in, prevent his making further incursions, and 
drive him back to his intrenchments should he attempt any. 

Governor Jefferson returned to Richmond after the enemy 
had left it, and wrote thence to the commander-in-chief an 
account of this ravaging incursion of "the parricide Arnold.' ' 
It was mortifying to Washington to see so inconsiderable 
a party committing such extensive depredations with im- 
punity, but it was his opinion that their principal object was 
to make a diversion in favor of Cornwallis ; and as the evils 
to be apprehended from Arnold's predatory incursions were 
not to be compared with the injury to the common cause, 
and the danger to Virginia in particular, which would result 
from the conquest of the States to the southward, he adjured 
Jefferson not to permit attention to immediate safety so to 

464 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ir)$ton Irvipq 

engross his thoughts as to divert him from measures for 
re-enforcing the Southern army. 

About this time an important resolution was adopted in 
Congress. "Washington had repeatedly, in his communica- 
tions to that body, attributed much of the distresses and 
disasters of the war to the congressional mode of conducting 
business through committees and " boards," thus causing 
irregularity and delay, preventing secrecy and augmecting 
expense. He was greatly rejoiced, therefore, when Congress 
decided to appoint heads of departments; secretaries of for- 
eign affairs, of war, and of marine, and a superintendent 
of finance. "I am happy, thrice happy, on private as well 
as public account," writes he, "to find that these are in 
train. For it will ease my shoulders of an immense burden, 
which the deranged and perplexed situation of our affairs, 
and the distresses of every department of the army, had 
placed upon them." 

General Sullivan, to whom this was written, and who 
was in Congress, was a warm friend of Washington's aid- 
de-camp, Colonel Hamilton, and he sounded the commander- 
in-chief as to the qualifications of the colonel to take charge 
of the department of finance. "I am unable to answer," 
replied "Washington, "because I never entered upon a discus- 
sion with him ; but this I can venture to advance, from a 
thorough knowledge of him, that there are few men to be 
found of his age who have more general knowledge than 
he possesses; and none whose soul is more firmly engaged 
in the cause, or who exceeds him in probity and sterling 

This was a warm eulogium for one of "Washington's cir- 
cumspect character, but it was sincere. Hamilton had been 
four years in his military family and always treated by him 

Cife of U/asl?ir}<$ton 465 

with marked attention and regard. Indeed, it had surprised 
many to see so young a man admitted like a veteran into his 
counsels. It was but a few days after Washington had 
penned the eulogium just quoted when a scene took place 
between him and the man he had praised so liberally that 
caused him deep chagrin. We give it as related by Ham- 
ilton himself, in a letter to General Schuyler, one of whose 
daughters he had recently married. 

"An unexpected change has taken place in my situation," 
writes Hamilton (Feb. 18). "I am no longer a member of 
the general's family. This information will surprise you, 
and the manner of the change will surprise you more. Two 
days ago the general and I passed each other on the 
stairs. He told me he wanted to speak to me. I 
answered that I would wait on him immediately. I went 
below and delivered Mr. Tilghman a letter to be sent 
to the commissary, containing an order of a pressing and 
interesting nature. 

"Returning to the general, I was stopped on the way by 
the Marquis de Lafayette, and we conversed together about 
a minute on a matter of business. He can testify how im- 
patient I was to get back, and that I left him in a manner 
which, but for our intimacy, would have been more than 
abrupt. Instead of finding the general, as is usual, in his 
room, I met him at the head of the stairs, where, accosting 
me in an angry tone, 'Colonel Hamilton (said he), you have 
kept me waiting at the head of the stairs these ten minutes. 
I must tell you, sir, you treat me with disrespect.' I replied, 
without petulancy, but with decision, 'I am not conscious 
of it, sir; but since you have thought it necessary to tell me 
so, we part.' 'Very well, sir (said he), if it be your choice,' 
or something to this effect, and we separated. I sincerely 

4G6 U/orKs of U/asl?iD$toi) Irvipo; 

believe my absence, which gave so much umbrage, did not 
last two minutes. 

"In less than an hour after, Tilghman came to me in the 
general's name, assuring me of his great confidence in my 
abilities, integrity, usefulness, etc., and of his desire, in a 
candid conversation, to heal a difference which could not 
have happened but in a moment of passion. I requested 
Mr. Tilghman to tell him — 1st. That I had taken my resolu- 
tion in a manner not to be revoked. 2d. That as a conversa- 
tion could serve no other purpose than to produce explana- 
tions, mutually disagreeable, though I certainly would not 
refuse an interview, if he desired it, yet I would be happy 
if he would permit me to decline it. 3d. That though de- 
termined to leave the family, the same principles which had 
kept me so long in it would continue to direct my conduct 
toward him when out of it. 4th. That, however, I did not 
wish to distress him, or the public business, by quitting him 
before he could derive other assistance by the return of some 
of the gentlemen who were absent. 5th. And that, in the 
meantime, it depended on him to let our behavior to each 
other be the same as if nothing had happened. He consented 
to decline the conversation, and thanked me for my offer 
of continuing my aid in the manner I had mentioned. 

"I have given you so particular a detail of our difference, 
from the desire I have to justify myself in your opinion. 
Perhaps you may think I was precipitate in rejecting the 
overture made by the general to an accommodation. I 
assure you, my dear sir, it was not the effect of resentment; 
it was the deliberate result of maxims I had long formed 
for the government of my own conduct." 

In considering this occurrence, as stated by Hamilton 
himself, we think he was in the wrong. His hurrying past 

Cife of U/asfyipqtOQ 467 

the general on the stairs without pausing, although the latter 
expressed a wish to speak with him ; his giving no reason 
for his haste, which, however " pressing' ' the letter he had 
to deliver, he could have spared at least a moment to do; 
his tarrying below to talk with the Marquis de Lafayette, 
the general all this time remaining at the head of the stairs, 
had certainly an air of great disrespect, and we do not 
wonder that the commander-in-chief was deeply offended 
at being so treated by his youthful aid-de-camp. His ex- 
pression of displeasure was measured and dignified, however 
irritated he may have been, and such an explanation, at 
least, was due to him, as Hamilton subsequently rendered 
to General Schuyler, through a desire to justify himself in 
that gentleman's opinion. The reply of Hamilton, on the 
contrary, savored very much of petulance, however devoid 
he may have considered it of that quality, and his avowed 
determination "to part," simply because taxed by the 
general with want of respect, was singularly curt and 

"Washington's subsequent overture intended to soothe the 
wounded sensitiveness of Hamilton and soften the recent 
rebuke, by assurances of unaltered confidence and esteem, 
strikes us as in the highest degree noble and gracious, and 
furnishes another instance of that magnanimity which gov- 
erned his whole conduct. We trust that General Schuyler, 
in reply to Hamilton's appeal, intimated that he had indeed 
been precipitate in rejecting such an overture. 

The following passage in Hamilton's letter to Schuyler 
gives the real key to his conduct on this occasion. 

"I always disliked the office of an aid-de-camp, as having 
in it a kind of personal dependence. I refused to serve in 
this capacity with two major-generals, at an early period 

468 U/or^« of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruio$ 

of the war. Infected, however, with the enthusiasm of the 
times, an idea of the general's character overcame my 
scruples and induced me to accept his invitation to enter 
into his family. . . It has been often with great difficulty 
that I have prevailed upon myself not to renounce it; but 
while, from motives of public utility, I was doing violence 
to my feelings, I was always determined, if there should 
ever happen a breach between us, never to consent to an 
accommodation. I was persuaded that when once that nice 
barrier which marked the boundaries of what we owed to 
each other should be thrown down, it might be propped 
again, but could never be restored." 

Hamilton, in fact, had long been ambitious of an inde- 
pendent position, and of some opportunity, as he said, "to 
raise his character above mediocrity." "When an expedition 
by Lafayette against Staten Island had been meditated in 
the autumn of 1780, he had applied to the commander-in- 
chief, through the marquis, for the command of a battalion 
which was without a field officer. "Washington had declined 
on the ground that giving him a whole battalion might be 
a subject of dissatisfaction, and that should any accident 
happen to him, in the actual state of affairs at headquarters, 
the commander-in-chief would be embarrassed for want of 
his assistance. 

He had next been desirous of the post of adjutant-gen- 
eral, which Colonel Alexander Scammel wa3 about to re- 
sign, and was recommended for that office by Lafayette 
and Greene; but, before their recommendations reached 
"Washington, he had already sent in to Congress the 
name of Brigadier-general Hand, who received the nom- 

These disappointments may have rendered Hamilton 

Cife of U/asbir^tor) 469 

doubtful of his being properly appreciated by the com- 
mander-in-chief; impaired his devotion to him, and deter- 
mined him, as he says, "if there should ever happen a 
breach between them, never to consent to an accommoda- 
tion." It almost looks as if , in his high-strung and sensi- 
tive mood, he had been on the watch for an offense, and had 
grasped at the shadow of one. 

Some short time after the rupture had taken place, "W ash- 
ington received a letter from Lafayette, then absent in Vir- 
ginia, in which the marquis observes, "Considering the foot- 
ing I am upon with your Excellency, it would, perhaps, ap- 
pear strange to you that I never mentioned a circumstance 
which lately happened in your family. I was the first who 
knew of it, and from that moment exerted every means in 
my power to prevent a separation which I knew was not 
agreeable to your Excellency. To this measure I was 
prompted by affection to you; but I thought it was im- 
proper to mention anything about it until you were pleased 
to impart it to me." 

The following was Washington's reply: "The event, 
which you seem to speak of with regret, my friendship for 
you would most assuredly have induced me to impart to you 
the moment it happened, had it not been for the request of 
Hamilton, who desired that no mention should be made of 
it. Why this injunction on me, while he was communicat- 
ing it himself, is a little extraordinary. But I complied, and 
religiously fulfilled it." 

We are happy to add that, though a temporary coolness 
took place between the commander-in-chief and his late fa- 
vorite aid-de-camp, it was but temporary. The friendship 
between these illustrious men was destined to survive the 
Revolution, and to signalize itself through many eventful 

470 U/or^s of U/a8l?ir)<$ton Iruir><$ 

years, and stands recorded in the correspondence of Wash- 
ington almost at the last moment of his life.* 


Cornwallis prepares to invade North Carolina — Tarleton sent against 
Morgan — Battle at Cowpens — Morgan pushes for the Catawba 
with Spoils and Prisoners — Cornwallis endeavors to intercept 
him — The Rising of the River — Cornwallis at Ramsour's Mills 

The stress of war, as "Washington apprehended, was at 
present shifted to the South. In a former chapter we left 
General Greene, in the latter part of December, posted with 
one division of his army on the east side of the Pedee River 
in North Carolina, having detached General Morgan with 
the other division, one thousand strong, to take post near 
the confluence of the Pacolet and Broad Rivers, in South 

Cornwallis lay encamped about seventy miles to the 
southwest of Greene, at "Winnsborough in Fairfield district. 
General Leslie had recently arrived at Charleston from Vir- 
ginia, and was advancing to re-enforce him with fifteen hun- 
dred men. This would give Cornwallis such a superiority of 
force that he prepared for a second invasion of North Caro- 
lina. His plan was to leave Lord Rawdon at the central 
post of Camden with a considerable body of troops to keep 
all quiet, while his lordship by rapid marches would throw 
himself between Greene and Virginia, cut him off from all 
re-enforcements in that quarter, and oblige him either to 

* His last letter to Hamilton, in which he assures him of 
" his very great esteem and regard," was written by Wash- 
ington but two days before his death. — Sparks, xi. 469. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 471 

make battle with his present force, or retreat precipitately 
from North Carolina, which would be disgraceful.* In 
either case Cornwallis counted on a general rising of the 
royalists; a re-establishment of regal government in the 
Carolinas, and the clearing away of all impediments to 
further triumphs in Virginia and Maryland. 

By recent information, he learned that Morgan had 
passed both the Catawba and Broad Rivers, and was 
about seventy miles to the northwest of him, on his way 
to the district of Ninety-Six. As he might prove extremely 
formidable if left in his rear, Tarleton was sent in quest of 
him, with about three hundred and fifty of his famous cav- 
alry, a corps of legion and light-infantry, and a number of 
the royal artillery with two field- pieces; about eleven hun- 
dred choice troops in all. His instructions were to pass 
Broad River for the protection of Ninety- Six, and either to 
strike at Morgan and push him to the utmost ; or to drive 
him out of the country, so as to prevent his giving any 
trouble on that side. 

Cornwallis moved with his main force on the 12th of 
December in a northwest direction between the Broad River 
and the Catawba, leading toward the back country. This 
was for the purpose of crossing the great rivers at their fords 
near their sources ; for they are fed by innumerable petty 
streams which drain the mountains, and are apt in the win- 
ter time, when storms of rain prevail, to swell and become 
impassable below their forks. He took this route also to cut 
off Morgan's retreat, or prevent his junction with Greene, 
should Tarleton's expedition fail of its object. General 
Leslie, whose arrival was daily expected, was to move up 

* Cornwallis to Lord George Germaine, March 17 

472 U/orl^s of U/as^fp^top Irvir>$ 

along the eastern side of the "Wateree and Catawba, keeping 
parallel with his lordship and joining him above. Every- 
thing on the part of Cornwallis was well planned and seemed 
to promise him a successful campaign. 

Tarleton, after several days' hard marching, came upon 
the traces of Morgan, who was posted on the north bank of 
the Pacolet, to guard the passes of that river. He sent word 
to Cornwallis of his intention to force a passage across the 
river, and compel Morgan either to fight or retreat, and sug- 
gested that his lordship should proceed up the eastern bank 
of Broad River, so as to be at hand to co-operate. His lord- 
ship, in consequence, took up a position at Turkey Creek, on 
Broad River. 

Morgan had been recruited by North Carolina and 
Georgia militia, so that his force was nearly equal in 
number to that of Tarleton, but, in point of cavalry and 
discipline, vastly inferior. Cornwallis, too, was on his left, 
and might get in his rear; checking his impulse, therefore, 
to dispute the passage of the Pacolet, he crossed that stream 
and retreated toward the upper fords of Broad River. 

Tarleton reached the Pacolet on the evening of the 15th, 
but halted on observing some troops on the opposite bank. 
It was merely a party of observation which Morgan had left 
there, but he supposed that officer to be there in full force. 
After some maneuvering to deceive his adversary, he crossed 
the river before daylight at Easterwood shoals. There was 
no opposition. Still he proceeded warily, until he learned 
that Morgan, instead of being in his neighorhood, was in full 
march toward Broad River. Tarleton now pressed on in 
pursuit. At ten o'clock at night he reached an encampment 
which Morgan had abandoned a few hours previously, ap- 
parently in great haste, for the camp fires were still smoking 

Cife of U/asl?ir><$toi} 473 

and provisions had been left behind half -cooked. Eager to 
come upon his enemy while in the confusion of a hurried 
flight, Tarleton allowed his exhausted troops but a brief re- 
pose, and, leaving his baggage under a guard, resumed his 
dogged march about two o'clock in the night; tramping for- 
ward through swamps and rugged broken grounds, round 
the western side of Thickety Mountain. A little before day- 
light of the 17th, he captured two videttes, from whom he 
learned, to his surprise, that Morgan, instead of a headlong 
retreat, had taken a night's repose, and was actually prepar- 
ing to give him battle. 

Morgan, in fact, had been urged by his officers to retreat 
across Broad River, which was near by, and make for the 
mountainous country; but, closely pressed as he was, he 
feared to be overtaken while fording the river, and while 
his troops were fatigued and in confusion; besides, being 
now nearly equal in number to the enemy, military pride 
would not suffer him to avoid a combat. 

The place where he came to a halt was known in the 
early grants by the name of Hannah's Cowpens, being part 
of a grazing establishment of a man named Hannah. It 
was in an open wood, favorable to the action of cavalry. 
There were two eminences of unequal height, and separated 
from each other by an interval about eighty yards wide. 
To the first eminence, which was the highest, there was an 
easy ascent of about three hundred yards. On these heights 
Morgan had posted himself. His flanks were unprotected, 
and the Broad River, running parallel on his rear, about six 
miles distant, and winding round on the left, would cut off 
retreat, should the day prove unfortunate. 

The ground, in the opinion of tacticians, was not well 
chosen; Morgan, a veteran bush-fighter, vindicated it in 

474 U/or^s of U/asl?in<$tor) Irvipo; 

after times in his own characteristic way. "Had I crossed 
the river, one half of the militia would have abandoned me. 
Had a swamp been in view they would have made for it. 
As to covering my wings, I knew the foe I had to deal with, 
and that there would be nothing but downright fighting. 
As to a retreat, I wished to cut off all hope of one. Should 
Tarleton surround me with his cavalry, it would keep my 
troops from breaking away, and make them depend upon 
their bayonets. When men are forced to fight, they will sell 
their lives dearly.' ' 

In arranging his troops for action, he drew out his infan- 
try in two lines. The first was composed of the North and 
South Carolina militia, under Colonel Pickens, having an 
advanced corps of North Carolina and Georgia volunteer 
riflemen. This line, on which he had the least dependence, 
was charged to wait until the enemy was within dead shot; 
then to take good aim, fire two volleys and fall back. 

The second Hue, drawn up a moderate distance in the 
rear of the first, and near the brow of the main eminence, 
was composed of Colonel Howard's light infantry and the 
Virginia riflemen; all Continental troops. They were in- 
formed of the orders which had been given to the first line, 
lest they should mistake their falling back for a retreat. 
Colonel Howard had the command of this line, on which 
the greatest reliance was placed. 

About a hundred and fifty yards in the rear of the sec- 
ond line, and on the slope of the lesser eminence, was Col- 
onel Washington's troop of cavalry, about eighty strong, 
with about fifty mounted Carolinian volunteers, under 
Major McCall, armed with sabers and pistols. 

British writers of the day gave Morgan credit for uncom- 
mon ability and judgment in the disposition of his force; 

Cife of U/asl?ii7<$tor) 475 

placing the militia, in whom he had no great confidence, in 
full view on the edge of the wood, and keeping his best 
troops out of sight, but drawn up in excellent order and 
prepared for all events.* 

It was about eight o'clock in the morning (Jan. 17th), 
when Tarleton came up. The position of the Americans 
seemed to him to give great advantage to his cavalry, and 
he made hasty preparations for immediate attack, anticipat- 
ing an easy victory. Part of his infantry he formed into a 
line, with dragoons on each flank. The rest of the infantry 
and cavalry were to be a reserve, and to wait for orders. 

There was a physical difference in the condition of the 
adverse troops. The British were haggard from want of 
sleep and a rough night tramp; the Americans, on the con- 
trary, were fresh from a night's rest, invigorated by a morn- 
ing's meal, and deliberately drawn up. Tarleton took no 
notice of these circumstances, or disregarded them. Im- 
petuous at all times, and now confident of victory, he did 
not even wait until the reserve could be placed, but led on 
his first line, which rushed shouting to the attack. The 
North Carolina and Georgia riflemen in the advance deliv- 
ered their fire with effect and fell back to the flanks of Pick- 
en's militia. These, as they had been instructed, waited 
until the enemy were within fifty yards, and then made a 
destructive volley, but soon gave way before the push of the 
bayonet. The British infantry pressed up to the second line, 
while forty of their cavalry attacked it on the right, seeking 
to turn its flank. Colonel Howard made a brave stand, and, 
for some time there was a bloody conflict ; seeing himself, 
however, in danger of being outflanked, he endeavored to 

* Annual Register, 1781, p. 56. 

476 U/orl^8 of U/a8l?iQ$toi) /ruiD$ 

change his front to the right. His orders were misunder- 
stood, and his troops were falling into confusion, when Mor- 
gan rode up and ordered them to retreat over the hill, where 
Colonel "Washington's cavalry were hurried forward for their 

The British, seeing the troops retiring over the hill, rushed 
forward irregularly in pursuit of what they deemed a routed 
foe. To their astonishment, they were met by Colonel Wash- 
ington's dragoons, who spurred on them impetuously, while 
Howard's infantry, facing about, gave them an effective vol- 
ley of musketry, and then charged with the bayonet; 

The enemy now fell into complete confusion. Some few 
artillerymen attempted to defend their guns, but were cut 
down or taken prisoners, and the cannon and colors capt- 
ured. A panic seized upon the British troops, aided no 
doubt by fatigue and exhaustion. A general night took 
place. Tarleton endeavored to bring his legion cavalry 
into action to retrieve the day. They had stood aloof as 
a reserve, and now, infected by the panic, turned their backs 
upon their commander, and galloped off through the woods, 
riding over the flying infantry. 

Fourteen of his officers, however, and forty of his dra- 
goons remained true to him; with these he attempted to 
withstand the attack of Washington's cavalry, and a fierce 
melee took place; but on the approach of Howard's infantry 
Tarleton gave up all for lost, and spurred off with his few 
but faithful adherents, trusting to the speed of their horses 
for safety. They made for Hamilton's ford on Broad River, 
thence to seek the main army under Cornwallis. 

The loss of the British in this action was ten officers and 
above one hundred men killed, two hundred wounded, and 
between five and six hundred rank and file made prisoners; 

Cife of U/asl?io<$ton 477 

while the Americans had but twelve men killed and sixty 
wounded. The disparity of loss shows how complete had 
been the confusion and defeat of the enemy. ''During the 
whole period of the war," says one of their own writers, "no 
other action reflected so much dishonor on the British arms. " * 

The spoils taken by Morgan, according to his own ac- 
count, were two field-pieces, two standards, eight hundred 
muskets, one traveling forge, thirty-five wagons, seventy 
negroes, upward of one hundred dragoon horses, and all the 
music. The enemy, however, had destroyed most of their 
baggage, which was immense. 

Morgan did not linger on the field of battle. Leaving 
Colonel Pickens with a body of militia, under the protection 
of a flag, to bury the dead and provide for the wounded of 
both armies, he set out on the same day about noon with his 
prisoners and spoils. Lord Cornwallis, with his main force, 
was at Turkey Creek, only twenty-five miles distant, and 
must soon hear of the late battle. His object was to get to 
the Catawba before he could be intercepted by his lordship, 
who lay nearer than he did to the fords of that river. Be- 
fore nightfall he crossed Broad River at the Cherokee ford, 
and halted for a few hours on its northern bank. Before 
daylight of the 18th he was again on the march. Colonel 
"Washington, who had been in pursuit of the enemy, rejoined 
him in the course of the day, as also did Colonel Pickens, 
who had left such of the wounded as could not be moved 
under the protection of a flag of truce. 

Still fearing that he might be intercepted before he could 
reach the Catawba, he put his prisoners in charge of Colonel 
"Washington and the cavalry, with orders to move higher up 
into the country and cross the main Catawba at the Island 

* Stedman, ii., p. 324. 

478 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)^toi> Iruir><$ 

ford ; while he himself pushed forward for that river by the 
direct route; thus to distract the attention of the enemy 
should they be in pursuit, and to secure his prisoners from 
being recaptured. 

Cornwallis, on the eventful day of the 17th, was at his 
camp on Turkey Creek, confidently waiting for tidings from 
Tarleton of a new triumph, when, toward evening, some of 
his routed dragoons came straggling into camp, haggard and 
forlorn, to tell the tale of his defeat. It was a thunderstroke. 
Tarleton defeated! and by the rude soldier he had been so 
sure of entrapping! It seemed incredible. It was con- 
firmed, however, the next morning, by the arrival of Tarle- 
ton himself, discomfited and crestfallen. In his account of 
the recent battle he represented the force under Morgan to 
be two thousand. This exaggerated estimate, together with 
the idea that the militia would now be out in great force, 
rendered his lordship cautious. Supposing that Morgan, 
elated by his victory, would linger near the scene of his 
triumph, or advance toward Ninety- Six, Cornwallis re- 
mained a day or two at Turkey Creek to collect the scat- 
tered remains of Tarleton's forces, and to await the arrival 
of General Leslie, whose march had been much retarded by 
the waters, but who "was at last out of the swamps." 

On the 19th, having been rejoined by Leslie, his lordship 
moved toward King's Creek, and thence in the direction of 
King's Mountain, until informed of Morgan's retreat toward 
the Catawba. Cornwallis now altered his course in that di- 
rection, and trusting that Morgan, encumbered, as he sup- 
posed him to be, by prisoners and spoils, might be overtaken 
before he could cross that river, detached a part of his force, 
without baggage, in pursuit of him, while he followed on 
with the remainder. 

Cife of U/a8t?ir}<$toi) 479 

Nothing, say the British chroniclers, could exceed the 
exertions of the detachment ; but Morgan succeeded in reach- 
ing the Catawba and crossing it in the evening, just two 
hours before those in pursuit of him arrived on its banks. 
A heavy rain came on and fell all night, and by daybreak 
the river was so swollen as to be impassable.* 

This sudden swelling of the river was considered by the 
Americans as something providential. It continued for sev- 
eral days, and gave Morgan time to send off his prisoners, 
who had crossed several miles above, and to call out the mi- 
litia of Mecklenburg and Rowan Counties to guard the fords 
of the river, f 

Lord Cornwallis had moved slowly with his main body. 
He was encumbered by an immense train of baggage; the 
roads were through deep red clay, and the country was cut 
up by streams and morasses. It was not until the 25th that 
he assembled his whole force at Ramsour's Mills, on the Lit- 
tle Catawba, as the south fork of that river is called, and 
learned that Morgan had crossed the main stream. Now he 
felt the loss he had sustained in the late defeat of Tarleton, 
of a great part of his light-troops, which are the life and 
spirit of an army, and especially efficient in a thinly peopled 
country of swamps and streams and forests like that he was 
entangled in. 

In this crippled condition, he determined to relieve his 

* Stedman, ii. 326. Cornwallis to Sir H. Clinton ; see 
also Remembrancer, 1781, part i, 303. 

f This sudden swelling of the river has been stated by 
some writers as having taken place on the 29th, on the ap- 
proach of Cornwallis' s main force, whereas it took place on 
the 23d, on the approach of the detachment sent by his lord- 
ship in advance in pursuit of Morgan. The inaccuracy as to 
date has given rise to disputes among historians. 

480 U/orKs of U7asl?iQ$t:or) lruio$ 

army of everything that could impede rapid movement in 
his future operations. Two days, therefore, were spent by 
him at Ramsour's Mills, in destroying all such baggage and 
stores as could possibly be spared. He began with his own. 
His officers followed his example. Superfluities of all kinds 
were sacrificed without flinching. Casks of wine and spirit- 
uous liquors were staved; quantities even of provisions were 
sacrificed. No wagons were spared but those laden with 
hospital stores, salt, and ammunition, and four empty ones, 
for the sick and wounded. The alacrity with which these 
sacrifices of comforts, conveniences, and even necessaries, 
were made, was honorable to both officers and men.* 

The whole expedient was subsequently sneered at by Sir 
Henry Clinton, as being "something too like a Tartar move" ; 
but his lordship was preparing for a trial of speed, where it 
was important to carry as light weight as possible. 


Greene joins Morgan on the Catawba — Adopts the Fabian Policy — 
Movement of Cornwallis to cross the Catawba — Affair at Mc- 
Gowan's Ford — Militia surprised by Tarleton at Tarrant's Tav- 
ern — Cornwallis checked by the Rising of the Yadkin — Contest 
of Skill and Speed of the two Armies in a March to the Banks 
of the Dan 

General Greene was gladdened by a letter from Mor- 
gan, written shortly after his defeat of Tarleton, and trans- 
mitted the news to Washington with his own generous com- 
ments. "The victory was complete," writes he, "and the 
action glorious. The brilliancy and success with which it 

Annual Register, 1781, p. 53. 

Cife of U/asl?ir}<$toi) 481 

was fought does the highest honor to the American arms, 
and adds splendor to the character of the general and his 
officers. I must beg leave to recommend them to your Ex- 
cellency's notice, and doubt not but from your represen- 
tation Congress will receive pleasure from testifying their 
approbation of their conduct.' ' 

Another letter from Morgan, written on the 25th, spoke 
of the approach of Cornwallis and his forces. "My num- 
bers," writes he, "are at this time too weak to fight them. 
1 intend to move toward Salisbury, to get near the main 
army. I think it would be advisable to join our forces, and 
fight them before they join Phillips, which they certainly 
will do if they are not stopped." 

Greene had recently received intelligence of the landing 
of troops at Wilmington, from a British squadron, supposed 
to be a force under Arnold, destined to push up Cape Fear 
River, and co-operate with Cornwallis; he had to prepare, 
therefore, not only to succor Morgan, but to prevent this co- 
operation. He accordingly detached General Stevens with 
his Virginia militia (whose term of service was nearly ex- 
pired) to take charge of Morgan's prisoners and conduct 
them to Charlottesville in Virginia. At the same time he 
wrote to the governors of North Carolina and Virginia, for 
all the aid they could furnish ; to Steuben, to hasten forward 
his recruits, and to Shelby, Campbell, and others, to take 
arms once more, and rival their achievements at King's 

This done, he left General Huger in command of the di- 
vision on the Pedee, with orders to hasten on by forced 
marches to Salisbury, to join the other division; in the 
meantime he set off on horseback to Morgan's camp, at- 
tended merely by a guide, an aid-de-camp, and a sergeant's 

Vol. XIV.— * * * 21 ' 

482 U/or^s of U/as^ip<$tor> Iruipo; 

guard of dragoons. His object was to aid Morgan in assem- 
bling militia and checking the enemy until the junction of 
his forces could be effected. It was a hard ride of upward 
of a hundred miles through a rough country. On the last 
day of January he reached Morgan's camp at Sherrard's 
ford on the east side of the Catawba. The British army 
lay on the opposite side of the river, but a few miles distant 
from it, and appeared to be making preparations to force a 
passage across, as it was subsiding, and would soon be ford- 
able. Greene supposed Cornwallis had in view a junction 
with Arnold at Cape Fear; he wrote, therefore, to General 
Huger to hurry on, so that with their united forces they 
could give his lordship a defeat before he could effect the 
junction. "I am not without hopes" writes he, u o/ ruin- 
ing Lord Cornwallis if he persists in his mad scheme of 
pushing through the country; and it is my earnest desire 
to form a junction as early for this purpose as possible. De- 
sire Colonel Lee to force a march to join us. Here is a fine 
field, and great glory ahead." 

More correct information relieved him from the appre- 
hension of a co-operation of Arnold and Cornwallis. The 
British troops which had landed at "Wilmington were merely 
a small detachment sent from Charleston to establish a mili- 
tary depot for the use of Cornwallis in his Southern cam- 
paign. They had taken possession of Wilmington without 

Greene now changed his plans. He was aware of the 
ill-provided state of the British army, from the voluntary 
destruction of their wagons, tents and baggage. Indeed, 
when he first heard of this measure, on his arriving at Sher- 
rard's ford, he had exclaimed: "Then Cornwallis is ours. " 
His plan now was to tempt the enemy continually with the 

Cife of U/ast?ip<$toi} 483 

prospect of a battle, but continually to elude one ; to harass 
them by a long pursuit, draw them higher into the country, 
and gain time for the division advancing under Huger to 
join him. It was the Fabian policy that he had learned 
under Washington, of whom he prided himself on being a 

As the subsiding of the Catawba would enable Cornwal- 
lis to cross, Greene ordered Morgan to move off silently with 
his division, on the evening of the 31st, and to press his 
march all night, so as to gain a good start in advance, while 
he (Greene) would remain to bring on the militia, who were 
employed to check the enemy. These militia, assembled 
from the neighboring counties, did not exceed five hundred. 
Two hundred of them were distributed at different fords; 
the remaining three hundred, forming a corps of mounted 
riflemen under General Davidson, were to watch the move- 
ments of the enemy, and attack him whenever he should 
make his main attempt to cross. When the enemy should 
have actually crossed, the different bodies of militia were to 
make the best of their way to a rendezvous, sixteen miles 
distant, on the road to Salisbury, where Greene would be 
waiting to receive them, and conduct their further move- 

While these dispositions were being made by the Ameri- 
can commander, Cornwallis was preparing to cross the river. 
The night of the 31st was chosen for the attempt. To divert 
the attention of the Americans, he detached Colonels Web- 
ster and Tarleton with a part of the army to a public ford 
called Beattie's ford, where he supposed Davidson to be sta- 
tioned. There they were to open a cannonade, and make a 
feint of forcing a passage. The main attempt, however, 
was to be made six miles lower down, at McGowan's, a 

484 U/orl^s of \JJas\)\T)qtOT) Irvir}$ 

private and unfrequented ford, where little, if any, opposi- 
tion was anticipated. 

Cornwallis set out for that ford, with the main body of 
his army, at one o'clock in the morning. The night was 
dark and rainy. He had to make his way through a wood 
and swamp where there was no road. His artillery stuck 
fast. The line passed on without them. It was near day- 
break by the time the head of the column reached the ford. 
To their surprise, they beheld numerous camp fires on the 
opposite bank. "Word was hastily carried to Cornwallis that 
the ford was guarded. It was so indeed: Davidson was 
there with his riflemen. 

His lordship would have waited for his artillery, but the 
rain was still falling, and might render the river unfordable. 
At that place the Catawba was nearly five hundred yards 
wide, about three feet deep, very rapid, and full of large 
stones. The troops entered the river in platoons, to support 
each other against the current, and were ordered not to fire 
until they should gain the opposite bank. Colonel Hall, of 
the light-infantry of the guards, led the way ; the grenadiers 
followed. The noise of the water and the darkness covered 
their movements until they were nearly half-way across, 
when they were descried by an American sentinel. He chal- 
lenged them three times, and, receiving no answer, fired. 
Terrified by the report, the man who was guiding the Brit- 
ish turned and fled. Colonel Hall, thus abandoned, led the 
way directly across the river; whereas the true ford inclined 
diagonally further down. Hall had to pass through deeper 
water, but he reached a part of the bank where it was un- 
guarded. The American pickets, too, which had turned out 
at the alarm given by the sentinel, had to deliver a distant 
and slanting fire. Still it had its effect. Three of the Brit- 

Cife of U/asr;ir)<$ton 485 

ish were killed and thirty-six wounded. Colonel Hall pushed 
on gallantly, but was shot down as he ascended the bank. 
The horse on which Cornwallis rode was wounded, but the 
brave animal carried his lordship to the shore, where he sank 
under him. The steed of Brigadier-general O'Hara rolled 
over with him into the water, and General Leslie's horse was 
borne away by the tumultuous current and with difficulty 

General Davidson hastened with his men toward the 
place where the British were landing. The latter formed 
as soon as they found themselves on firm ground, .charged 
Davidson's men before he had time to get them in or« 
der, killed and wounded about forty, and put the rest to 

General Davidson was the last to leave the ground, and 
was killed just as he was mounting his horse. When the 
enemy had effected the passage, Tarleton was detached with 
his cavalry in pursuit of the militia, most of whom dispersed 
to their homes. Eager to avenge his late disgrace, he scoured 
the country, and made for Tarrant's tavern, about ten miles 
distant, where about a hundred of them had assembled from 
different fords, on their way to the rendezvous, and were 
refreshing themselves. As Tarleton came clattering upon 
them with his legion, they ran to their horses, delivered a 
hasty fire, which emptied some of his saddles, and then 
made for the woods; a few of the worst mounted were over- 
taken and slain. Tarleton, in his account of his campaigns, 
made the number nearly fifty; but the report of a British 
officer, who rode over the ground shortly afterward, reduced 
it to ten. The truth probably lay between. The survivors 
were dispersed beyond rallying. Tarleton, satisfied with his 
achievement, rejoined the main body. Had he scoured the 

486 U/or^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> Iruipo; 

country a few miles further, General Greene and his suite 
might have fallen into his hands. 

The general, informed that the enemy had crossed the 
Catawba at daybreak, awaited anxiously at the rendezvous 
the arrival of the militia. It was not until after midnight 
that he heard of their utter dispersion, and of the death of 
Davidson. Apprehending the rapid advance of Cornwallis, 
he hastened to rejoin Morgan, who with his division was 
pushing forward for the Yadkin, first sending orders to 
General Huger to conduct the other division by the most 
direct route to Guilford Court-house, where the forces were 
to be united. Greene spurred forward through heavy ram 
and deep miry roads. It was a dreary ride and a lonely one, 
for he had detached his aides-de-camp in different directions, 
to collect the scattered militia. At mid- day he alighted 
weary and travel-stained at the inn at Salisbury, where the 
army physician who had charge of the sick and wounded 
prisoners received him at the door, and inquired after his 
well-being. "Fatigued, hungry, alone, and penniless," was 
Greene's heavy-hearted reply. The landlady, Mrs. Elizabeth 
Steele, overheard his desponding words. While he was 
seated at table, she entered the room, closed the door, and 
drawing from under her apron two bags of money which 
she had carefully hoarded in those precarious times, "Take 
these," said the noble-hearted woman; "you will want them, 
and I can do without them." This is one of the numberless 
instances of the devoted patriotism of our women during the 
Revolution. Their patriotism was apt to be purer and more 
disinterested than that of the men. 

Cornwallis did not advance so rapidly as had been appre- 
hended. After crossing the Catawba, he had to wait for his 
wagons and artillery, which had remained on the other side 

Cife of U/asf?ii?<$toi) 487 

in the woods ; so that by nightfall of the 1st of February he 
was not more than five miles on the road to Salisbury. 
Eager to come up with the Americans, he mounted some 
of the infantry upon the baggage horses, joined them to the 
cavalry, and sent the whole forward under General O'Hara. 
They arrived on the banks of the Yadkin at night, between 
the 2d and 3d of February, just in time to capture a few 
wagons lingering in the rear of the American army, which 
had passed. The riflemen who guarded them retreated after 
a short skirmish. There were no boats with which to cross; 
the Americans had secured them on the other side. The 
rain which had fallen throughout the day had overflooded 
the ford by which the American cavalry had passed. The 
pursuers were again brought to a stand. After some doubt 
and delay, Cornwallis took his course up the south side of 
the Yadkin, and crossed by what is still called the Shallow 
Ford, while Greene continued on unmolested to Guilford 
Court house, where he was joined by General Huger and 
his division, on the 9th. 

Cornwallis was now encamped about twenty-five miles 
above them, at the old Moravian town of Salem. Greene 
summoned a council of war (almost the only time he was 
known to do so) and submitted the question whether or not 
to offer battle. There was a unanimous vote in the negative. 
A fourth part of the force was on the sick list, from naked- 
ness and exposure. The official returns gave but two thou- 
sand and thirty-six, rank and file, fit for duty. Of these 
upward of six hundred were militia. 

Cornwallis had from twenty-five hundred to three thou- 
sand men, including three hundred cavalry, all thoroughly 
disciplined and well equipped. It was determined to con- 
tinue the retreat. 

488 U/or^g of U/a8^iQ<$tor> Iruir>$ 

The great object of Greene now was to get across the 
river Dan, and throw himself into Virginia. With the re- 
enforcements and assistance he might there expect to find 
he hoped to effect the salvation of the South and prevent 
the dismemberment of the Union. The object of Cornwallis 
was to get between him and Virginia, force him to a combat 
before he could receive those re-enforcements, or inclose him 
in between the great rivers on the west, the sea on the east, 
and the two divisions of the British army under himself and 
Lord Rawdon on the north and south. His lordship had 
been informed that the lower part of the Dan, at present, 
could only be crossed in boats, and that the country could 
not afford a sufficient number for the passage of Greene's 
army; he trusted, therefore, to cut him off from the upper 
part of the river, where alone it was f ordable. Greene, how- 
ever, had provided against such a contingency. Boats had 
been secured at various places by his agents, and could be 
collected at a few hours' notice at the lower ferries. Instead, 
therefore, of striving with his lordship for the upper fords, 
Greene shaped his course for Boyd's and Irwin's fords, just 
above the confluence of the Dan and Staunton Rivers which 
forms the Roanoke, and about seventy miles from Guilford 
Court-house. This would give him twenty-five miles ad- 
vantage of Lord Cornwallis at the outset. General Kosci- 
uszko was sent with a party in advance to collect the boats 
and throw up breastworks at the ferries. 

In ordering his march, General Greene took the lead with 
the main body, the baggage, and stores. General Morgan 
would have had the command of the rearguard, composed 
of seven hundred of the most alert and active troops, cavalry 
and light infantry; but, being disabled by a violent attack 
of ague and rheumatism, it was given to Colonel Otho H. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$t09 489 

Williams (formerly adjutant-general), who had with him 
Colonels Howard, Washington, and Lee. 

This corps, detached some distance in the rear, did infinite 
service. Being lightly equipped, it could maneuver in front 
of the British line of march, break down bridges, sweep off 
provisions, and impede its progress in a variety of ways, 
while the main body moved forward unmolested. It was 
now that Cornwallis most felt the severity of the blow he 
had received at the battle of the Cowpens in the loss of his 
light troops, having so few to cope with the elite corps under 

Great abilities were shown by the commanders on either 
side in this momentous trial of activity and skill. It was 
a long and severe march for both armies, through a wild 
and rough country, thinly peopled, cut up by streams, partly 
covered by forests, along deep and frozen roads, under 
drenching rains, without tents at night, and with scanty 
supplies of provisions. The British suffered the least, for 
they were well equipped and comfortably clad; whereas, 
the poor Americans were badly off for clothing, and many 
of them without shoes. The patriot armies of the Revolu- 
tion, however, were accustomed in their winter marches to 
leave evidences of their hardships in bloody footprints. 

We forbear to enter into the details of this masterly 
retreat, the many stratagems and maneuvers of the covering 
party to delay and hoodwink the enemy. Tarleton himself 
bears witness in his narrative that every measure of the 
Americans was judiciously designed and vigorously executed. 
So much had Cornwallis been misinformed at the outset as 
to the means below of passing the river, and so difficult was 
it, from want of light troops, to gain information while on 
the march, that he pushed on in the firm conviction that 

490 U/or^s of U/ast?ip^top Irvir;$ 

he was driving the American army into a trap, and would 
give it a signal blow before it could cross the Dan. 

In the meantime, Greene, with the main body, reached 
the banks of the river, and succeeded in crossing over with 
ease in the course of a single day at Boyd's and Irwin's fer- 
ries, sending back word to Williams, who with his covering 
party was far in the rear. That intelligent officer encamped, 
as usual, in the evening, at a wary distance in front of the 
enemy, but stole a march upon them after dark, leaving his 
camp fires burning. He pushed on all night, arriving at 
the ferry in the morning of the 15th, having marched forty 
miles within the last four and twenty hours ; and made such 
dispatch in crossing that his last troops had landed on the Vir • 
ginia shore by the time the astonished enemy arrived on the 
opposite bank. Nothing, according to their own avowal, 
could surpass the grief and vexation of the British at dis- 
covering, on their arrival at Boyd's ferry, "that all their 
toils and exertions had been vain, and that all their hopes 
were frustrated." * 


Cornwallis takes Post at Hillsborough — His Proclamation —Greene 
recrosses the Dan — Country Scoured by Lee and Pickens — Affair 
with Colonel Pyle — Maneuvers of Cornwallis to bring Greene 
to Action— Battle of Guilford Court-House — Greene Retreats to 
Troublesome Creek — Cornwallis marches toward Cape Fear — 
Greene pursues him — Is brought to a Stand at Deep River — De- 
termines to face about and carry the War into South Carolina 
— Cornwallis Marches for Virginia 

For a day the two armies lay panting within sight of 
each other on the opposite banks of the river, which had put 

* Annual Register, 1781. 

Cife of U/a8t?ir)<$tor> 491 

an end to the race. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, dated 
the day of the crossing, Greene writes: "On the Dan River, 
almost fatigued to death, having had a retreat to conduct 
of upward of two hundred miles, maneuvering constantly 
in the face of the enemy to give time for the militia to turn 
out and get off our stores." And to "Washington he writes 
(Feb. 15), "Lord Cornwallis has been at our heels from day 
to day ever since we left Guilford, and our movements from 
thence to this place have been of the most critical kind, hav- 
ing a river in our front and the enemy in our rear. The 
miserable condition of the troops for clothing has rendered 
the march the most painful imaginable, many hundred of 
the soldiers tracking the ground with their bloody feet. 
Your feelings for the sufferings of the soldier, had you been 
with us, would have been severely tried." He concludes 
by an honorable testimonial in their favor: "Our army are 
in good spirits, notwithstanding their sufferings and exces- 
sive fatigue." 

On the 16th the river began to subside; the enemy might 
soon be able to cross. Greene prepared for a further retreat 
by sending forward his baggage on the road to Halifax, and 
securing the passage of the Staunton. At Halifax he was 
resolved to make a stand, rather than suffer the enemy to 
take possession of it without a struggle. Its situation on the 
Roanoke would make it a strong position for their army, 
supported by a fleet, and would favor their designs both on 
Virginia and the Carolinas. With a view to its defense, 
intrenchments had already been thrown up, under the direc- 
tion of Kosciuszko. 

Lord Cornwallis however, did not deem it prudent, un- 
der present circumstances, to venture into Virginia, where 
Greene would be sure of powerful re-enforcements. North 

492 Cl/or^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> Irvlr)^ 

Carolina was in a state of the utmost disorder and confu- 
sion; he thought it better to remain in it for a time, and 
profit by having compelled Greene to abandon it. After 
giving his troops a day's repose, therefore, he put them once 
more in motion on the 18th, along the road by which he had 
pursued Greene. The latter, who was incessantly on the 
alert, was informed of this retrograde move, by a precon- 
certed signal; the waving of a white handkerchief, under 
cover of the opposite bank, by a female patriot. 

This changed the game. Lee, with his legion, strength- 
ened by two veteran Maryland companies, and Pickens, with 
a corps of South Carolina militia, all light troops, were trans- 
ported across the Dan in the boats, with orders to gain the 
front of Cornwallis, hover as near as safety would permit, 
cut off his intercourse with the disaffected parts of the coun- 
try, and check the rising of the royalists. "If we can but 
delay him for a day or two," said Greene, "he must be 
ruined." Greene, in the meanwhile, remained with his 
main force on the northern bank of the Dan; waiting to 
ascertain his lordship's real designs, and ready to cross at 
a moment's warning. 

The movements of Cornwallis, for a day or two, were 
of a dubious nature, designed to perplex his opponents; on 
the 20th, however, he took post at Hillsborough. Here 
he erected the royal standard, and issued a proclamation, 
stating that, whereas it had pleased Divine Providence to 
prosper the operations of his majesty's arms in driving the 
rebel army out of the province, he invited all his loyal sub- 
jects to hasten to his standard with their arms and ten days' 
provisions, to assist in suppressing the remains of rebellion, 
and re-establishing good order and constitutional government. 

By another instrument, all who could raise independent 

Cife of U/asl?ir;<$ton 493 

companies were called upon to give in their names at head- 
quarters, and a bounty in money and lands was promised 
to those who should enlist under them. The companies thus 
raised were to be formed into regiments. 

These sounding appeals produced but little effect on the 
people of the surrounding districts. Many hundreds, says 
Tarleton, rode into the camp to talk over the proclamation, 
inquire the news of the day, and take a view of the king's 
troops. The generality seemed desirous of peace, but averse 
from any exertion to procure it. They acknowledged that 
the Continentals had been chased out of the province, but 
apprehended they would soon return. 

1 i Some of the most zealous," adds he, "promised to raise 
companies, and even regiments; but their followers and 
dependents were slow to enlist." Tarleton himself was 
forthwith detached with the cavalry and a small body of 
infantry, to a region of country lying between the Haw and 
Deep Rivers, to bring on a considerable number of loyalists 
who were said to be assembling there. 

Rumor, in the meantime, had magnified the effect of his 
lordship's proclamations. Word was brought to Greene 
that the tories were flocking from all quarters to the royal 
standard. Seven companies, it was said, had been raised 
in a single day. At this time the re -enforcements to the 
American camp had been little more than six hundred Vir- 
ginia militia, under General Stevens. Greene saw that at 
this rate, if Cornwallis were allowed to remain undisturbed, 
he would soon have complete command of North Carolina; 
he boldly determined, therefore, to recross the Dan at all 
hazards with the scanty force at his command, and give his 
lordship check. In this spirit he broke up his camp and 
crossed the river on the 23d. 

494 U/or^s of U/asI?ii?$toi) Irving 

In the meantime, Lee and Pickens, who were scouting 
the country about Hillsborough, received information of 
Tarleton's recruiting expedition to the region between the 
Haw and Deep Rivers. There was no foe they were more 
eager to cope with ; and they resolved to give him a surprise. 
Having forded the Haw one day about noon, they learned 
from a countryman that Tarleton was encamped about three 
miles off, that his horses were unsaddled, aw*, that every- 
thing indicated confident security. They now pushed on 
under covert of the woods, prepared to give the bold partisan 
a blow after his own fashion. Before they reached the place 
Tarleton had marched on; they captured two of his staff, 
however, who had remained behind, settling with the people 
of a farmhouse for supplies furnished to the detachment. 

Being informed that Tarleton was to halt for the night 
at the distance of six miles, they still trusted to surprise him. 
On the way, however, they had an encounter with a body 
of three or four hundred mounted royalists, armed with rifles, 
and commanded by a Colonel Pyle, marching in quest of 
Tarleton. As Lee with his cavalry was in advance, he was 
mistaken for Tarleton, and hailed with loyal acclamations. 
He favored the mistake, and was taking measures to capture 
the royalists, when some of them, seeing the infantry under 
Pickens, discovered their error and fired upon the rearguard. 
The cavalry instantly charged upon them; ninety were cut 
down and slain, and a great number wounded; among the 
latter was Colonel Pyle himself, who took refuge among 
thickets on the borders of a piece of water which still bears 
his name. The Americans alleged in excuse for the slaugh- 
ter that it was provoked by their being attacked; and that 
the saber was used, as a continued firing might alarm Tarle- 
ton's camp. We do not wonder, however, that British 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tOD 495 

writers pronounced it a massacre; though it was but fol- 
lowing the example set by Tarleton himself in this ruthless 

After all, Lee and Pickens missed the object of their 
enterprise. The approach of night and the fatigue of their 
troops made them defer their attack upon Tarleton until 
morning. In the meantime, the latter had received an 
express from Cornwallis, informing him that Greene had 
passed the Dan, and ordering him to return to Hillsborough 
as soon as possible. He hastened to obey. Lee with his 
legion was in the saddle before daybreak ; but Tarleton 's 
troops were already on the march. "The legion," writes 
Lee, "accustomed to night expeditions, had been in the habit 
of using pine-torch for flambeau. Supplied with this, though 
the morning was dark, the enemy's trail was distinctly dis- 
covered, whenever a divergency took place in his route." 

Before sunrise, however, Tarleton had forded the Haw, 
and "Light- Horse Harry" gave over the pursuit, consoling 
himself, that though he had not effected the chief object of 
his enterprise, a secondary one was completely executed, 
which would repress the tory spirit just beginning to burst 
forth. "Fortune," writes he, in his magniloquent way, 
"Fortune, which sways so imperiously the affairs of war, 
demonstrated throughout the operation its supreme control.* 
Nothing was omitted on the part of the Americans to give 
to the expedition the desired termination ; but the very bright 
prospects which for a time presented themselves, were sud- 
denly overcast — the capricious goddess gave us Pyle and 
saved Tarleton." 

The reappearance of Greene and his army in North Caro 

* Lee's Memoirs of the War, i. 319. 

496 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top Iruip^ 

lina, heralded by the scourings of Lee and Pickens, discon- 
certed the schemes of Lord Cornwallis. The recruiting 
service was interrupted. Many royalists who were on the 
way to his camp returned home. Forage and provisions 
became scarce in the neighborhood. He found himself, he 
said, "among timid friends and adjoining to inveterate 
rebels." On the 26th, therefore, he abandoned Hillsbor- 
ough, threw himself across the Haw, and encamped near 
Alamance Creek, one of its principal tributaries, in a country 
favorable to supplies and with a tory population. His posi- 
tion was commanding, at the point of concurrence of roads 
from Salisbury, Guilford, High Rockford, Cross Creek, and 
Hillsborough. It covered also the communication with 
Wilmington, where a depot of military stores, so important 
to his half -destitute army, had recently been established. 

Greene, with his main army, took post about fifteen miles 
above him, on. the heights between Troublesome Creek and 
Reedy Fork, one of the tributaries of the Haw. His plan 
was to cut the enemy off from the upper counties; to harass 
him by skirmishes, but to avoid a general battle ; thus gaining 
time for the arrival of re- enforcements daily expected. He 
rarely lay more than two days in a place, and kept his light 
troops under Pickens and Williams between him and the 
enemy; hovering about the latter; intercepting his intelli- 
gence; attacking his foraging parties, and striking at his 
flanks whenever exposed. Sharp skirmishes occurred be- 
tween them and Tarleton's cavalry with various success. 
The country being much of a wilderness obliged both parties 
to be on the alert; but the Americans, accustomed to bush- 
fighting, were not easily surprised. 

On the 6th of March, Cornwallis, learning that the light 
troops under Williams were very carelessly posted, put his 

Cife of U/asf?io$top 497 

army suddenly in motion, and crossed the Alamance in a 
thick fog; with the design to beat up their quarters, drive 
them in upon the main army, and bring Greene to action 
should he come to their assistance. His movement was 
discovered by the American patrols, and the alarm given. 
"Williams hastily called in his detachments and retreated 
with his light troops across Reedy Fork, while Lee with his 
legion maneuvered in front of the enemy. A stand was 
made by the Americans at Wetzell's Mill, but they were 
obliged to retire with the loss of fifty killed and wounded. 
Cornwallis did not pursue; evening was approaching, and 
he had failed in his main object; that of bringing Greene 
to action. The latter, fixed in his resolve of avoiding a con- 
flict, had retreated across the Haw in order to keep up his 
communication with the roads by which he expected his sup- 
plies and re-enforcements. The militia of the country, who 
occasionally flocked to his camp, were chiefly volunteers, 
who fell off after every skirmish, ' 'going home," as he said, 
"to tell the news." "At this time," said he on the 10th, "I 
have not above eight or nine hundred of them in the field ; 
yet there have been upward of five thousand in motion in 
the course of four weeks. A force fluctuating in this manner 
can promise but slender hopes of success against an enemy 
in high discipline, and made formidable by the superiority 
of their numbers. Hitherto, I have been obliged to effect 
that by finesse which I dare not attempt by force." * 

Greene had scarcely written this letter when the long- 
expected re- enforcements arrived, having been hurried on 
by forced marches. They consisted of a brigade of Virginia 
militia, under General Lawson, two brigades of North Caro- 
lina militia, under Generals Butler and Eaton, and four 

* Letter to Governor Jefferson, March 10. 

498 U/orl^s of \I/ast?i9<$tOT) Iruir)<$ 

hundred regulars, enlisted for eighteen months. His whole 
effective force, according to official returns, amounted to 
four thousand two hundred and forty-three foot, and one 
hundred and sixty-one cavalry. Of his infantry, not quite 
two thousand were regulars, and of these, three-fourths were 
new levies. His force nearly doubled in number that of 
Cornwallis, which did not exceed two thousand four hundred 
men; but many of Greene's troops were raw and inexperi- 
enced and had never been in battle ; those of the enemy were 
veterans, schooled in warfare, and, as it were, welded to- 
gether by campaigning in a foreign land, where their main 
safety consisted in standing by each other. 

Greene knew the inferiority of his troops in this respect ; 
his re-enforcements, too, fell far short of what he had been 
led to expect, yet he determined to accept the battle which 
had so long been offered. The corps of light troops, under 
Williams, which had rendered such efficient service, was 
now incorporated with the main body, and all detachments 
were ordered to assemble at Guilford, within eight miles 
of the enemy, where he encamped on the 14th, sending his 
wagons and heavy baggage to the Iron Works at Trouble- 
some Creek, ten miles in his rear. 

Cornwallis, from the difficulty of getting correct informa- 
tion, and from Greene's frequent change of position, had an 
exaggerated idea of the American force, rating it as high 
as eight thousand men : still he trusted in his well-seasoned 
veterans, and determined to attack Greene in his encamp- 
ment, now that he seemed disposed for a general action. 
To provide against the possibility of a retreat, he sent his 
carriages and baggage to Bell's Mills, on Deep River, and 
set out at daybreak on the 15th for Guilford. 

Within four miles of that place, near the New Garden 

Cife of U/asl?ir}$tor) 499 

Meeting-house, Tarleton, with the advanced guard of cav- 
alry, infantry, and yagers, came upon the American advance- 
guard, composed of Lee's partisan legion, and some moun- 
taineers and Virginia militia. Tarleton and Lee were well 
matched in military prowess, and the skirmish between 
them was severe. Lee's horses, being from Virginia and 
Pennsylvania, were superior in weight and strength to those 
of his opponent, which had been chiefly taken from planta- 
tions in South Carolina. The latter were borne down by a 
charge in close column; several of their riders were dis- 
mounted and killed or taken prisoners. Tarleton, seeing 
that his weakly mounted men fought to a disadvantage, 
sounded a retreat ; Lee endeavored to cut him off : a general 
conflict of the vanguards, horse and foot, ensued, when the 
appearance of the main body of the enemy obliged Lee, in 
his turn, to retire with precipitation. 

During this time, Greene was preparing for action on 
a woody eminence, a little more than a mile south of Guil- 
ford Court-house. The neighboring country was covered 
with forest, excepting some cultivated fields about the court- 
house, and along the Salisbury road, which passed through 
the center of the place, from south to north. 

Greene had drawn out his troops in three lines. The 
first, composed of North Carolina militia, volunteers, and 
riflemen, under Generals Butler and Eaton, were posted 
behind a fence, with an open field in front, and woods on 
the flanks and in the rear. About three hundred yards 
behind this was the second line, composed of Virginia militia, 
under Generals Stevens and Lawson, drawn up across the 
road and covered by a wood. The third line, about four 
hundred yards in the rear of the second, was composed of 
Continental troops or regulars ; those of Virginia under Gen- 

500 U/or^s of Wa&tyqqtOT) IrulqQ 

eral Huger on the right, those of Maryland under Colonel 
Williams on the left. Colonel Washington with a body of 
dragoons, Kirkwood's Delaware infantry, and a battalion 
of Virginia militia, covered the right flank; Lee's legion, 
with the Virginia riflemen under Colonel Campbell, covered 
the left. Two six-pounders were in the road, in advance of 
the first line; two field-pieces with the rear line near the 
court-house, where General Greene took his station. 

About noon the head of the British army was descried 
advancing spiritedly from the south along the Salisbury 
road, and defiling into the fields. A cannonade was opened 
from the two six-pounders in front of the first American line. 
It was answered by the British artillery. Neither produced 
much effect. The enemy now advanced coolly and steadily 
in three columns; the Hessians and Highlanders, under 
General Leslie, on the right, the Royal Artillery and guards 
in the center, and Webster's brigade on the left. The North 
Carolinians, who formed the first line, waited until the enemy 
were within one hundred and fifty yards, when, agitated by 
their martial array and undaunted movement, they began 
to fall into confusion; some fired off their pieces without 
taking aim ; others threw them down and took to flight. A 
volley from the foe, a shout, and a charge of the bayonet, 
completed their discomfiture. Some fled to the woods, others 
fell back upon the Virginians, who formed the second line. 
General Stevens, who commanded the latter, ordered his 
men to open and let the fugitives pass, pretending that they 
had orders to retire. He had taken care, however, to post 
forty riflemen in the rear of his own line, with orders to fire 
upon any one who should leave his post. Under his spirited 
command and example, the Virginians kept their ground and 
fought bravely. 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)<$t09 501 

The action became much broken up and diversified by 
the extent of the ground. The thickness of the woods im- 
peded the movements of the cavalry. The reserves on both 
sides were called up. The British bayonet again succeeded; 
the second line gave way, and General Stevens, who had 
kept the field for some time after being wounded in the thigh 
by a musket-ball, ordered a retreat. 

The enemy pressed with increasing ardor against the 
third line, composed of Continental troops, and supported 
by Colonel Washington's dragoons and Kirkwood's Dela- 
wares. Greene counted on these to retrieve the day. They 
were regulars; they were fresh, and in perfect order. He 
rode along the line, calling on them to stand firm, and give 
the enemy a warm reception. 

The first Maryland regiment, which was on the right 
wing, was attacked by Colonel Webster, with the British 
left. It stood the shock bravely, and being seconded by 
some Virginia troops, and Kirkwood's Delawares, drove 
Webster across a ravine. The second Maryland regiment 
was not so successful. Impetuously attacked by Colonel 
Stewart, with a battalion of the guards, and a company of 
grenadiers, it faltered, gave way, and fled, abandoning two 
field- pieces, which were seized by the enemy. Stewart was 
pursuing, when the first regiment, which had driven Webster 
across the ravine, came to the rescue with fixed bayonets, 
while Colonel Washington spurred up with his cavalry. The 
fight now was fierce and bloody. Stewart was slain; the 
two field-pieces were retaken, and the enemy in their turn 
gave way and were pursued with slaughter; a destructive 
fire of grapeshot from the enemy's artillery checked the 
pursuit. Two regiments approached on the right and left. 
Webster recrossed the ravine and fell upon Kirkwood's Dela- 

502 U/or^s of U/asbiQ^toi} Irv/ir><$ 

wares. There was intrepid fighting in different parts of the 
field; but Greene saw that the day was lost; there was no 
retrieving the effect produced by the first flight of the North 
Carolinians. Unwilling to risk the utter destruction of his 
army, he direc'sd a retreat, which was made in good order, 
but they had to leave their artillery on the field, most of the 
horses having been killed. About three miles from the field 
of action he made a halt to collect stragglers, and then con- 
tinued on to the place of rendezvous at Speedwell's Iron 
Works on Troublesome Creek. 

The British were too much cut up and fatigued to follow 
up their victory. Two regiments with Tarleton's cavalry 
attempted a pursuit but were called back. Efforts were 
made to collect the wounded of both armies, but they were 
dispersed over so wide a space, among woods and thickets, 
that night closed before the task was accomplished. It was 
a dismal night even to the victors ; a night of unusual dark- 
ness, with torrents of rain. The army was destitute of tents; 
there were not sufficient houses in the vicinity to receive the 
wounded; provisions were scanty; many had tasted very 
little food for the last two days; comforts were out of the 
question. Nearly fifty of the wounded sank under their 
aggravated miseries, and expired before morning. The 
cries of the disabled and dying, who remained on the field 
of battle, during the night, exceeded all description. Such 
a complicated scene of horror and distress, adds the British 
writer whose words we quote, it is hoped, for the sake of 
humanity, rarely occurs, even in military life.* 

The loss of the Americans in this hard-fought affair was 
never fully ascertained. Their official returns, made imme- 

* Stedman, vol. ii., p. 346. 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$toi> 503 

diately after the action, give little more than four hundred 
killed and wounded, and between eight and nine hundred 
missing; but Lord Cornwallis states in his dispatches that 
between two and three hundred of the Americans were found 
dead on the field of battle. 

The loss sustained by his lordship, even if numerically 
less, was far more fatal ; for, in the circumstances in which 
he was placed, it was not to be supplied, and it completely 
maimed him. Of his small army, ninety-three had fallen, 
four hundred and thirteen were wounded, and twenty- six 
missing. Among the killed and wounded were several offi- 
cers of note. Thus, one- fourth of his army was either killed 
or disabled ; his troops were exhausted by fatigue and hun- 
ger; his camp was encumbered by the wounded. His vic- 
tory, in fact, was almost as ruinous as a defeat. 

Greene lay for two days within ten miles of him, near 
the Iron Works on Troublesome Creek, gathering up his 
scattered troops. He had imbibed the spirit of "Washington, 
and remained undismayed by hardships or reverses. Writ- 
ing to the latter, he says: "Lord Cornwallis will not give 
up this country without being soundly beaten. I wish our 
force was more competent to the business. But I am in 
hopes, by little and little, to reduce him in time. His troops 
are good, well found, and fight with great obstinacy. 

" Virginia, " adds he, "has given me every support I 
could wish or expect, since Lord Cornwallis has been in 
North Carolina; and nothing has contributed more to this 
than the prejudice of the people in favor of your Excellency, 
which has extended to me from the friendship you hav© 
been pleased to honor me with." * 

: Sparks. Correspondence of the Revolution, hi. 267. 

50J: U/orl^s of U/as^iQ^tor> Irvir?<$ 

And again: "The service here is extremely severe, and 
the officers and soldiers bear it with a degree of patience 
that does them the highest honor. I have never taken off 
my clothes since I left the Pedee. I was taken with a faint- 
ing last night, owing, I suppose, to excessive fatigue and 
constant watching. I am better to-day, but far from well. 
I have little prospect of acquiring much reputation while 
I labor under so many disadvantages. I hope my friends 
will make full allowances; and as for vulgar opinion, I 
regard it not." 

In "Washington he had a friend whose approbation was 
dearer to him than the applause of thousands, and who 
knew how to appreciate him. To Greene's account of the 
battle he sent a cheering reply. "Although the honors of 
the field do not fall to your lot, I am convinced you deserve 
them. The chances of war are various, and the best con- 
certed measures and most flattering prospects may, and often 
do, deceive us, especially while we are in the power of the 
militia. The motives which induced you to risk an action 
with Lord Cornwallis are supported upon the best military 
principle, and the consequence, if you can prevent the dissi- 
pation of your troops, will no doubt be fortunate." 

The consequence, it will be found, was such as Washing- 
ton, with his usual sagacity, predicted. Cornwallis, so far 
from being able to advance in the career of victory, could 
not even hold the ground he had so bravely won, but was 
obliged to retreat from the scene of triumph, to some secure 
position where he might obtain supplies for his famished 

Leaving, therefore, about seventy of his officers and men, 
who were too severely wounded to bear traveling, together 
with a number of wounded Americans, in the New Garden 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$tOQ 505 

Meeting-house, and the adjacent buildings, under the pro 
tection of a flag of truce, and placing the rest of his wounded 
in wagons or on horseback, he set out, on the third day after 
the action, by easy marches, for Cross Creek, otherwise 
called the Haw, an eastern branch of Cape Fear River, 
where was a settlement of Scottish Highlanders, stout ad- 
herents, as he was led to believe, to the royal cause. Here 
he expected to be plentifully supplied with provisions, and to 
have his sick and wounded well taken care of. Hence, too, 
he could open a communication by Cape Fear River with 
Wilmington, and obtain from the depot recently established 
there such supplies as the country about Cross Creek did not 

On the day on which he began his march he issued a 
proclamation, setting forth his victory, calling upon all loyal 
subjects to join his standard, and holding out the usual 
promises and threats to such as should obey or should con- 
tinue in rebellion. 

No sooner did Greene learn that Cornwallis was retreat- 
ing than he set out to follow him, determined to bring him 
again to action ; and presenting the singular spectacle of the 
vanquished pursuing the victor. His troops, however, suf- 
fered greatly in this pursuit from wintry weather, deep, 
wet, clayey roads, and scarcity of provisions; the country 
through which they marched being completely exhausted; 
but they harassed the enemy's rearguard with frequent 

On the 28th, Greene arrived at Ramsey's Mills, on Deep 
River, hard on the traces of Cornwallis, who had left the 
place a few hours previously, with such precipitation that 
several of his wounded, who had died while on the march, 
were left behind un buried. Several fresh quarters of beef 

Vol. XIV.— ***22 

506 U/orl^s of U/a8t?ir}$tor? Irv/ir)©; 

had likewise been forgotten, and were seized upon with 
eagerness by the hungry soldiery. Such had been the 
urgency of the pursuit this day that many of the American 
troops sank upon the road exhausted with fatigue. At 
Deep River, Greene was brought to a stand. Cornwallis 
had broken down the bridge by which he had crossed; and 
further pursuit for the present was impossible. The con- 
stancy of the militia now gave way. They had been con- 
tinually on the march with little to eat, less to drink, and 
obliged to sleep in the woods in the midst of smoke. Every 
step had led them from their homes and increased their pri- 
vations. They were now in want of everything, for the 
retreating enemy left a famished country behind him. The 
term for which most of them had enlisted was expired, and 
they now demanded their discharge. The demand was just 
and reasonable, and, after striving in vain to shake their 
determination, Greene felt compelled to comply with it. 
His force thus reduced, it would be impossible to pursue the 
enemy further. The halt he was obliged to make to collect 
provisions and rebuild the bridge would give them such 
a start as to leave no hope of overtaking them should they 
continue their retreat; nor could he fight them upon equal 
terms should they make a stand. The regular troops would 
be late in the field, if raised at all : Virginia, from the un- 
equal operation of the law for drafting, was not likely to 
furnish many soldiers: Maryland, as late as the 13th instant, 
had not got a man ; neither was there the least prospect of 
raising a man in North Carolina. In this situation, remote 
from re-enforcements, inferior to the enemy in numbers, and 
without hope of support, what was to be done? "If the 
enemy falls down toward Wilmington," said he, "they will 
be in a position where it would be impossible for us to injure 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$t:or) 507 

them if we had a force."* Suddenly he determined to 
change his course and carry the war into South Carolina. 
This would oblige the enemy either to follow him, and thus 
abandon North Carolina; or to sacrifice all his posts in the 
upper part of South Carolina and Georgia. To Washington, 
to whom he considered himself accountable for all his policy, 
and from whose counsel he derived confidence and strength, 
he writes on the present occasion. "All things considered, 
I think the movement is warranted by the soundest reasons, 
both political and military. The maneuver will be critical 
and dangerous, and the troops exposed to every hardship. 
But as I share it with them, I may hope they will bear up 
under it with that magnanimity which has always supported 
them, and for which they deserve everything of their coun- 
try." — "I shall take every measure," adds he, "to avoid 
a misfortune. But necessity obliges me to commit myself 
to chance, and, I trust, my friends will do justice to my 
reputation, if any accident attends me." 

In this brave spirit, he apprised Sumter, Pickens and 
Marion, by letter, of his intentions, and called upon them 
to be ready to co-operate with all the militia they could 
collect ; promising to send forward cavalry and small detach- 
ments of light infantry, to aid them in capturing outposts 
before the army should arrive. 

To Lafayette he writes at the same time. 

"I expect by this movement to draw Cornwallis out of 
this State, and prevent him from forming a junction with 
Arnold. If you follow to support me, it is not impossible 
that we may give him a drubbing, especially if General 
Wayne comes up with the Pennsylvanians." 

In pursuance of his plan, Greene, on the 30th of March, 

« ■»-- ' ■■-■-■ — ■■ . — ■ I ■■-■■■ , . ■ , ,!■■■■■■■ — 

* Greene to Washington. Cor. Rev., hi. 278. 

508 U/or^s of U/a8^ip^tor> IruiQ$ 

discharged all his militia with many thanks for the courage 
and fortitude with which they had followed him through so 
many scenes of peril and hardship; and joyously did the 
poor fellows set out for their homes. Then, after giving his 
''little, distressed, though successful army," a short taste of 
the repose they needed, and having collected a few days' 
provision, he set forward, on the 5th of April, toward Cam- 
den, where Lord Raw don had his headquarters. 

Cornwallis, in the meantime, was grievously disappointed 
in the hopes he had formed of obtaining ample provisions 
and forage at Cross Creek, and strong re-enforcements from 
the royalists in that neighborhood. Neither could he open 
a communication by Cape Fear River, for the conveyance of 
his troops to Wilmington. The distance by water was up- 
ward of a hundred miles, the breadth of the river seldom 
above one hundred yards, the banks high, and the inhabit- 
ants on each side generally hostile. He was compelled, 
therefore, to continue his retreat by land, quite to "Wilming- 
ton, where he arrived on the 7th of April, and his troops, 
weary, sick and wounded, rested for the present from the 
"unceasing toils and unspeakable hardships which they had 
undergone during the past three months." * 

It was his lordship's intention, as soon as he should have 
equipped his own corps and received a part of the expected 
re-enforcements from Ireland, to return to the upper coun- 
try, in hopes of giving protection to the royal interests in 
South Carolina, and of preserving the health of his troops 
until he should concert new measures with Sir Henry 
Clinton, f His plans were all disconcerted, however, by 

* See Letter of Cornwallis to Lord George Germaine, 
April 18. Also Annual Register, 1781, p. 72. 

f Answer to Clinton's Narrative, Introduction, p. vi. 

Cife of U/asbintfton 509 

intelligence of Greene's rapid march toward Camden. 
Never, we are told, was his lordship more affected than 
by this news. "My situation here is very distressing," 
writes he. "Greene took the advantage of my being 
obliged to come to this place, and has marched to South 
Carolina. My expresses to Lord Rawdon on my leaviDg 
Cross Creek, warning him of the possibility of such a move- 
ment, have all failed ; mountaineers and militia have poured 
into the back part of that province, and I much fear that 
Lord Rawdon's posts will be so distant from each other, 
and his troops so scattered, as to put him into the great- 
est danger of being beaten in detail, and that the worst 
of consequences may happen to most of the troops out of 

It was too late for his lordship to render any aid by a 
direct move toward Camden. Before he could arrive there 
Greene would have made an attack; if successful, his lord- 
ship's army might be hemmed in among the great rivers, 
in an exhausted country, revolutionary in its spirit, where 
Greene might cut off their subsistence, and render their arms 

All thoughts of offensive operations against North Caro- 
lina were at an end. Sickness, desertion, and the loss sus- 
tained at Guilford Court-house, had reduced his little army 
to fourteen hundred and thirty-five men. 

In this sad predicament, after remaining several days in 
a painful state of irresolution, he determined to take advan- 
tage of Greene's having left the back part of Virginia open, 
to march directly into that province, and attempt a junction 
with the force acting there under General Phillips. 

* Letter to Major-general Phillips. 

510 U/orl^s of U/a8^ir>^top Iruir?^ 

By this move, he might draw Greene back to the north- 
ward, and by the reduction of Virginia he might promote 
the subjugation of the South. The move, however, he felt 
to be perilous. His troops were worn down by upward 
of eight hundred miles of marching and counter-marching, 
through an inhospitable and impracticable country; they 
had now three hundred more before them, under still worse 
circumstances than those in which they first set out; for, so 
destitute were they, notwithstanding the supplies received 
at "Wilmington, that his lordship, sadly humorous, declared, 
"his cavalry wanted everything, and his infantry every- 
thing but shoes." * 

There was no time for hesitation or delay ; Greene might 
return and render the junction with Phillips impracticable: 
having sent an express to the latter, therefore, informing 
him of his coming, and appointing a meeting at Petersburg, 
his lordship set off on the 25th of April, on his fated march 
into Virginia. 

We must now step back in dates to bring up events in 
the more northern parts of the Union. 

* Annual Register, 1781, p. 90. 

Cife of U/a8^ir><$tor> 511 


Arnold at Portsmouth, in Virginia — Expeditions sent against him — 
Instructions to Lafayette — Washington at Newport — Consulta- 
tions with De Rochambeau — Sailing of the French Fleet — Pur- 
sued by the English — Expedition of Lafayette to Virginia — En- 
gagement between the English and French Fleets — Failure of 
the Expedition against Arnold — Letter of Washington to Colonel 
Laurens — Measures to re-enforce Greene — General Phillips in 
Command at Portsmouth— Marauds the Country — Checked by 
Lafayette — Mount Vernon menaced — Death of Phillips 

In a former chapter we left Benedict Arnold fortifying 
himself at Portsmouth, after his ravaging incursion. At 
the solicitation of Governor Jefferson, backed by Congress, 
the Chevalier de la Luzerne had requested the French com- 
mander at the eastward to send a ship of the line and some 
frigates to Chesapeake Bay to oppose the traitor. Fortu- 
nately, at this juncture a severe snowstorm (Jan. 22d) scat- 
tered Arbuthnot's blockading squadron, wrecking one ship 
of the line and dismasting others, and enabled the French 
fleet at Newport to look abroad; and Rochambeau wrote 
to Washington that the Chevalier Destouches, who com- 
manded the fleet, proposed to send three or four ships to 
the Chesapeake. 

Washington feared the position of Arnold, and his well- 
known address, might enable him to withstand a mere at- 
tack by sea; anxious to insure his capture, he advised that 
Destouches should send his whole fleet, and that De Rocham- 
beau should embark about a thousand men on board of it, 
with artillery and apparatus for a siege; engaging, on his 

512 U/or^s of \l/a&tyr)$tor) In/ip$ 

own part, to send off immediately a detachment of twelve 
hundred men to co-operate. "The destruction of the corps 
under the command of Arnold," writes he, "is of such im- 
mense importance to the welfare of the Southern States that 
I have resolved to attempt it with the detachment I now 
send in conjunction with the militia, even if it should not be 
convenient for your Excellency to detach a part of your 
force; provided M. Destouches is able to protect our opera- 
tions by such disposition of his fleet as will give us the com- 
mand of the bay, and prevent succors from being sent from 
New York." 

Before the receipt of this letter, the French commanders, 
acting on their first impulse, had, about the 9th of February, 
detached M. de Tilly, with a sixty -gun ship and two frigates, 
to make a dash into the Chesapeake. Washington was ap- 
prised of their sailing just as he was preparing to send off 
the twelve hundred men spoken of in his letter to De Ro- 
chambeau. He gave the command of this detachment to 
Lafayette, instructing him to act in conjunction with the mi- 
litia and the ships sent by Destouches, against the enemy's 
corps actually in Virginia. As the case was urgent, he was 
to suffer no delay, when on the march, for want either of 
provisions, forage, or wagons, but where ordinary means did 
not suffice, he was to resort to military impress. "You are 
to do no act whatever with Arnold," said the letter of in- 
struction, "that directly or by implication may screen him 
from the punishment due to his treason and desertion, which, 
if he should fall into your hands, you will execute in the 
most summary manner." 

"Washington wrote at the same time to the Baron Steuben, 
Informing him of the arrangements and requesting him to 
be on the alert. "If the fleet should have arrived before 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$toi) 513 

this gets to hand," said he, "secrecy will be out of the ques- 
tion; if not, you will conceal your expectations, and only 
seem to be preparing for defense. Arnold, on the appear- 
ance of the fleet, may endeavor to retreat through North 
Carolina. If you take any measure to obviate this, the pre- 
caution will be advisable. Should you be able to capture 
this detachment with its chief, it will be an event as pleas- 
ing as it will be useful.' ' 

Lafayette set out on his march on the 22d of February, 
and Washington was indulging the hope that, scanty as was 
the naval force sent to the Chesapeake, the combined enter* 
prise might be successful, when, on the 27th, he received a 
letter from the Count de Rochambeau announcing its fail- 
ure. De Tilly had made his dash into Chesapeake Bay, but 
Arnold had been apprised by the British Admiral Arbuthnot 
of his approach, and had drawn his ships high up Elizabeth 
River. The water was too shallow for the largest French 
ships to get within four leagues of him. One of De Tilly's 
frigates ran aground, and was got off with difficulty, and 
that commander, seeing that Arnold was out of his reach, 
and fearing to be himself blockaded should he linger, put to 
sea and returned to Newport; having captured during his 
cruise a British frigate of forty-four guns, and two priva- 
teers with their prizes. 

The French commanders now determined to follow the 
plan suggested by Washington, and operate in the Chesa- 
peake with their whole fleet and a detachment of land troops, 
being, as they said, disposed to risk everything to hinder 
Arnold from establishing himself at Portsmouth. 

Washington set out for Newport to concert operations 
with the French commanders. Before his departure, he 
wrote to Lafayette, on the 1st of March, giving him in- 

514 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir7<$toi> Irvii?o; 

telligence or these intentions, and desiring him to transmit 
it to the Baron Steuben. "I have received a letter," adds 
he, "from General Greene, by which it appears that Corn- 
wallis, with twenty-five hundred men, was penetrating the 
country with very great rapidity, and Greene with a much 
inferior force retiring before him, having determined to pass 
the Roanoke. This intelligence, and an apprehension that 
Arnold may make his escape before the fleet can arrive in 
the bay, induces me to give you greater latitude than you 
had in your original instructions. You are at liberty to con- 
cert a plan with the French general and naval commander 
for a descent into North Carolina, to cut off the detachment 
of the enemy which had ascended Cape Fear River, inter- 
cept, if possible, Coruwallis, and relieve General Greene and 
the Southern States. This, however, ought to be a second- 
ary object, attempted in case of Arnold's retreat to New 
York ; or in case his reduction should be attended with too 
much delay. There should be strong reasons to induce a 
change of our first plan against Arnold if he is still in 

Washington arrived at Newport on the 6th of March, and 
found the French fleet ready for sea ; the troops, eleven hun- 
dred strong, commanded by General the Baron de Viomenil, 
being already embarked. 

"Washington went immediately on board of the admiral's 
ship, where he had an interview with the Count de Rocham- 
beau, and arranged the plan of the campaign. Returning 
on shore he was received by the inhabitants with enthusias- 
tic demonstrations of affection ; and was gratified to perceive 
the harmony and good- will between them and the French 
army and fleet. Much of this he attributed to the wisdom 
of the commanders, and the discipline of the troops, but 

Cife of U/a8bir)$toi> 515 

more to magnanimity on the one part, and gratitude on 
the other; and he hailed it as a happy presage of lasting 
friendship between the two nations. 

On the 8th of March, at ten o'clock at night, he writes 
to Lafayette: "I have the pleasure to inform you that the 
whole fleet went out with a fair wind this evening about 
sunset. "We have not heard of any move of the British in 
Gardiner's Bay. Should we luckily meet with no interrup- 
tion from them, and Arnold should continue in Virginia, 
until the arrival of M. Destouches, I flatter myself you will 
meet with that success which I most ardently wish, not only 
on the public, but your own account." 

The British fleet made sail in pursuit, on the morning of 
the 10th; as the French had so much the start, it was hoped 
they would reach Chesapeake Bay before them. Washing- 
ton felt the present to be a most important moment. "The 
success of the expedition now in agitation," said he, "seems 
to depend upon a naval superiority, and the force of the two 
fleets is so equal that we must rather hope for than entertain 
an assurance of victory. The attempt, however, made by 
our allies, to dislodge the enemy in Virginia, is a bold one, 
and should it fail, will nevertheless entitle them to the thanks 
of the public." 

On returning to his headquarters at New "Windsor, "Wash- 
ington, on the 20th of March, found letters from General 
Greene, informing him that he had saved all his baggage, 
artillery, and stores, notwithstanding the hot pursuit of the 
enemy, and was now in his turn following them, but that he 
was greatly in need of re-enforcements. 

"My regard for the public good, and my inclination to 
promote your success," writes "Washington in reply, "will 
prompt me to give every assistance, and to make every di- 

516 U/or^s of Was\)\r)QtOT) Irvip$ 

version in your favor. But what can I do if I am not fur- 
nished with the means? From what I saw and learned at 
the eastward, I am convinced the levies will be late in the 
field, and I fear far short of the requisition. I most anx- 
iously wait the event of the present operation in Virginia. 
If attended with success, it may have the happiest influence 
on our Southern affairs, by leaving the forces of Virginia 
free to act. For while there is an enemy in the heart of a 
country, you can expect neither men nor supplies from it, 
in that full and regular manner in which they ought to be 

In the meantime, Lafayette with his detachment was 
pressing forward by forced marches for Virginia. Arriv- 
ing at the Head of Elk on the 3d of March, he halted until 
he should receive tidings respecting the French fleet. A let- 
ter from the Baron Steuben spoke of the preparations he was 
making, and the facility of taking the fortifications of Ports- 
mouth, "sword in hand." The youthful marquis was not 
so sanguine as the veteran baron. "Arnold," said he, "has 
had so much time to prepare, and plays so deep a game; 
nature has made the position so respectable, and some of the 
troops under his orders have been in so many actions, that I 
do not flatter myself to succeed so easily." 

On the 7th he received Washington's fetter of the 1st, 
apprising him of the approaching departure of the whole 
fleet with land forces. Lafayette now conducted his troops 
by water to Annapolis, and concluding, from the time the 
ships were to sail, and the winds which had since prevailed, 
the French fleet must be already in the Chesapeake, he 
crossed the bay in an open boat to Virginia, and pushed 
on to confer with the American and French commanders; 
get a convoy for his troops, and concert matters for a vigor- 

Cife of U/asl?i octroi} 517 

ous co-operation. Arriving at York on the 14th, he found 
the Baron Steuben in the bustle of military preparations, and 
confident of having five thousand militia ready to co-operate. 
These, with Lafayette's detachment, would be sufficient for 
the attack by land ; nothing was wanting but a co-operation 
by sea; and the French fleet had not yet appeared, though 
double the time necessary for the voyage had elapsed. The 
marquis repaired to General Muhlenberg's camp near Suf- 
folk, and reconnoitered with him the enemy's works at Ports- 
mouth ; this brought on a trifling skirmish, but everything 
appeared satisfactory ; everything promised complete success. 

On the 20th, word was brought that a fleet had come to 
anchor within the capes. It was supposed of course to be 
the French, and now the capture of the traitor was certain. 
He himself, from certain signs, appeared to be in great con- 
fusion; none of his ships ventured down the bay. An officer 
of the French navy bore down to visit the fleet, but returned 
with the astounding intelligence that it was British ! 

Admiral Arbuthnot had in fact overtaken Destouches on 
the 16th of March, off the capes of Virginia. Their forces 
were nearly equal ; eight ships of the line and four frigates 
on each side, the French having more men, the English 
more guns. An engagement took place which lasted about 
an hour. The British van at first took the brunt of the ac- 
tion, and was severely handled; the center came up to its 
relief. The French line was broken and gave way, but ral- 
lied, and formed again at some distance. The crippled state 
of some of his ships prevented the British admiral from 
bringing on a second encounter; nor did the French seek 
one, but shaped their course the next day back to Newport. 
Both sides claimed a victory. The British certainly effected 
the main objects they had in view : the French were cut off 

518 U/orl^s of U7 a&\)\r)QtOT) Iruipo; 

from the Chesapeake ; the combined enterprise against Ports- 
mouth was disconcerted, and Arnold was saved. Great 
must have been the apprehensions of the traitor while that 
enterprise threatened to entrap him. He knew the peculiar 
peril impending over him; it had been announced in the 
sturdy reply of an American prisoner, to his inquiry what 
his countrymen would do to him if he was captured. — "They 
would cut off the leg wounded in the service of your country 
and bury it with the honors of war; the rest of you they 
would hang!" 

The feelings of Washington, on hearing of the result of 
the enterprise, may be judged from the following passage 
of a letter to Colonel John Laurens, then minister at Paris. 
"The failure of this expedition, which was most flattering 
in the commencement, is much to be regretted; because a 
successful blow in that quarter would, in all probability, 
have given a decisive turn to our affairs in all the Southern 
States; because it has been attended with considerable ex- 
pense on our part, and much inconvenience to the State of 
Virginia, by the assembling of our militia; because the 
world is disappointed at not seeing Arnold in gibbets; and, 
above all, because we stood in need of something to keep us 
afloat till the result of your mission is known ; for be as- 
sured, my dear Laurens, day does not follow night more 
certainly than it brings with it some additional proof of the 
impracticability of carrying on the war without the aids you 
were directed to solicit. As an honest and candid man, as a 
man whose all depends on the final and happy termination 
of the present contest, I assert this, while I give it decisively 
as my opinion, that, without a foreign loan, our present 
force, which is but the remnant of an army, cannot be kept 
together this campaign, much less will it be increased, and 

Cife of U/asl?iD<$ton 510 

in readiness for another. ... If France delays a timely 
and powerful aid in the critical posture of our affairs, it will 
avail us nothing should she attempt it hereafter. We are 
at this hour suspended in the balance ; not from choice, but 
from hard and absolute necessity ; and you may rely on it as 
a fact that we cannot transport the provisions from the States 
in which they are assessed, to the army, because we cannot 
pay the teamsters, who will no longer work for certificates. 
... In a word, we are at the end of our tether, and now or 
never our deliverance must come. . . . How easy would it 
be to retort the enemy's own game upon them; if it could be 
made to comport with the general plan of the war, to keep 
a superior fleet always in these seas, and France would put 
us in condition to be active, by advancing us money. The 
ruin of the enemy's schemes would then be certain; the bold 
game they are now playing would be the means of effecting 
it, for they would be reduced to the necessity of concentrat- 
ing their force at capital points ; thereby giving up all the 
advantages they have gained in the Southern States, or be 
vulnerable everywhere." 

"Washington's anxiety was now awakened for the safety 
of General Greene. Two thousand troops had sailed from 
New York under General Phillips, probably to join with the 
force under Arnold, and proceed to re-enforce Cornwallis. 
Should they form a junction, Greene would be unable to 
withstand them. With these considerations Washington 
wrote to Lafayette, urging him, since he was already three 
hundred miles, which was half the distance, on the way, to 
push on with all possible speed to join the Southern army, 
sending expresses ahead to inform Greene of his approach. 

The letter found Lafayette on the 8th of April, at the 
Head of Elk, preparing to march back with his troops to the 

520 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)<$toi) Irvii>$ 

banks of the Hudson. Oh his return through Virginia he 
had gone out of his way and traveled all night for the pur- 
pose of seeing "Washington's mother at Fredericksburg, and 
paying a visit to Mount Vernon. He now stood ready to 
obey "Washington's orders, and march to re-enforce General 
Greene; but his troops, who were chiefly from the Eastern 
States, murmured at the prospect of a campaign in the South- 
ern climates, and desertions began to occur. Upon this, he 
announced in general orders that he was about to enter on 
an enterprise of great difficulty and danger, in which he 
trusted his soldiers would not abandon him. Any, however, 
who were unwilling, should receive permits to return home. 

As he had anticipated, their pride was roused by this ap- 
peal. All engaged to continue forward. So great was the 
fear of appearing a laggard or a craven that a sergeant, too 
lame to march, hired a place in a cart to keep up with the 
army. In the zeal of the moment, Lafayette borrowed 
money on his own credit from the Baltimore merchants, 
to purchase summer clothing for his troops, in which he 
was aided, too, by the ladies of the city, with whom he was 
deservedly popular. 

The detachment from New York, under General Phillips, 
arrived at Portsmouth on the 26th of March. That officer 
immediately took command, greatly to the satisfaction of the 
British officers, who had been acting under Arnold. The 
force now collected there amounted to three thousand five 
hundred men. The garrison of New York had been greatly 
weakened in furnishing this detachment, but Cornwallis had 
urged the policy of transferring the seat of war to Virginia, 
even at the expense of abandoning New York; declaring 
that until that State was subdued the British hold upon the 
Carolinas must be difficult, if not precarious. 

Cife of U/asf?in<$toi} 521 

The disparity in force was now so great that the Baron 
Steuben had to withdraw his troops and remove the military 
stores into the interior. Many of the militia, too, their term 
of three months being expired, stacked their arras and set off 
for their homes, and most of the residue had to be discharged. 

General Phillips had hitherto remained quiet in Ports- 
mouth, completing the fortifications, but evidently making 
preparations for an expedition. On the 16th of April, he 
left one thousand men in garrison, and, embarking the rest 
in small vessels of light draught, proceeded up James River, 
destroying armed vessels, public magazines, and a shipyard 
belonging to the State. 

Landing at City Point, he advanced against Petersburg, 
a place of deposit of military stores and tobacco. He was 
met about a mile below the town by about one thousand 
militia, under General Muhlenberg, who, after disputing the 
ground inch by inch for nearly two hours, with considerable 
loss on both sides, retreated across the Appomattox, breaking 
down the bridge behind them. 

Phillips entered the town,- set fire to the tobacco ware- 
houses, and destroyed all the vessels lying in the river. 
Repairing and crossing the bridge over the Appomattox, 
he proceeded to Chesterfield Court-house, where he destroyed 
barracks and public stores; while Arnold, with a detach- 
ment, laid waste the magazines of tobacco in the direction 
of Warwick. A fire was opened by the latter from a few 
field -pieces on the river bank, upon a squadron of small 
armed vessels, which had been intended to co-operate with 
the French fleet against Portsmouth. The crews scuttled 
or set fire to them, and escaped to the north side of the river. 

This destructive course was pursued until they arrived 
at Manchester, a small place opposite Richmond, where the 

522 U/or^s of U/asfyip^toi) Irvino; 

tobacco warehouses were immediately in a blaze. Rich- 
mond was a leading object of this desolating enterprise, for 
there a great part of the military stores of the State had 
been collected. Fortunately, Lafayette, with his detach- 
ment of two thousand men, had arrived there, by forced 
marches, the evening before, and being joined by about two 
thousand militia and sixty dragoons (the latter, principally 
young Virginians of family), had posted himself strongly 
on the high banks on the north side of the river. 

There being no bridge across the river at that time, Gen- 
eral Phillips did not think it prudent to attempt a passage 
in face of such a force so posted ; but was extremely irritated 
at being thus foiled by the celerity of his youthful opponent, 
who now assumed the chief command of the American forces 
in Virginia. 

Returning down the south bank of the river, to the place 
where his vessels awaited him, General Phillips re-embarked 
on the 2d of May, and dropped slowly down the river below 
the confluence of the Chickahominy. He was followed 
cautiously, and his movements watched by Lafayette, who 
posted himself behind the last-named river. 

Dispatches from Cornwallis now informed Phillips that 
his lordship was advancing with all speed from the South 
to effect a junction with him. The general immediately 
made a rapid move to regain possession of Petersburg, 
where the junction was to take place. Lafayette attempted 
by forced marches to get there before him, but was too late. 
Falling back, therefore, he recrossed James River and sta- 
tioned himself some miles below Richmond, to be at hand 
for the protection of the public stores collected there. 

During this main expedition of Phillips, some of his 
smaller vessels had carried on the plan of plunder and dev 

Cife of \XfastyT)$tor) 523 

astation in other of the rivers emptying into the Chesa- 
peake Bay ; setting fire to the houses where they met with 
resistance. One had ascended the Potomac and menaced 
Mount Vernon. Lund Washington, who had charge of the 
estate, met the flag which the enemy sent on shore, and 
saved the property from ravage, by furnishing the vessel 
with provisions. Lafayette, who heard of the circumstance, 
and was sensitive for the honor of "Washington, immediately 
wrote to him on the subject. "This conduct of the person 
who represents you on your estate," writes he, "must cer- 
tainly produce a bad effect, and contrast with the courageous 
replies of some of your neighbors, whose houses in conse- 
quence have been burned. You will do what you think 
proper, my dear general, but friendship makes it my duty 
to give you confidentially the facts." 

"Washington, however, had previously received a letter 
from Lund himself, stating all the circumstances of the case, 
and had immediately written him a reply. He had no doubt 
that Lund had acted from his best judgment, and with a 
view to preserve the property and buildings from impend- 
ing danger, but he was stung to the quick by the idea that his 
agent should go on board of the enemy's vessels, carry them 
refreshments, and "commune with a parcel of plundering 
scoundrels," as he termed them. "It would have been a 
less painful circumstance to me to have heard," writes he, 
"that in consequence of your noncompliance with their 
request they had burned my house and laid my plantation 
in ruins. You ought to have considered yourself as my 
representative, and should have reflected on the bad example 
of communicating with the enemy and making a voluntary 
offer of refreshments to them, with a view to prevent a 

524 U7or^s of U/asl?iD$toi) \r\jlT)q 

In concluding his letter, he expresses his opinion that 
it was the intention of the enemy to prosecute the plunder- 
ing plan they had begun; and that it would end in the 
destruction of his property, but adds that he is "prepared 
for the event.' * He advises his agent to deposit the most 
valuable and least bulky articles in a place of safety. "Such 
and so many things as are necessary for common and pres- 
ent use must be retained, and must run their chance through 
the fiery trial of this summer." 

Such were the steadfast purposes of Washington's mind 
when war was brought home to his door, and threatening 
his earthly paradise of Mount Vernon. 

In the meantime the desolating career of General Phillips 
was brought to a close. He had been ill for some days pre- 
vious to his arrival at Petersburg, and by the time he 
reached there was no longer capable of giving orders. He 
died four days afterward ; honored and deeply regretted by 
his brothers in arms as a meritorious and well-tried soldier. 
"What made his death to be more sensibly felt by them at this 
moment was that it put the traitor, Arnold, once more in the 
general command. 

He held it, however, but for a short time, as Lord Corn- 
wallis arrived at Petersburg on the 20th of May, after nearly 
a month's weary marching from Wilmington. His lordship, 
on taking command, found his force augmented by a con- 
siderable detachment of royal artillery, two battalions of 
light infantry, the 76th and 80th British regiments, a Hes- 
sian regiment, Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe's corps of Queen's 
rangers, cavalry and infantry, one hundred yagers, Arnold's 
legion of royalists, and the garrison of Portsmouth. He 
was cheered also by intelligence that Lord Rawdon had ob- 
tained an advantage over General Greene before Camden, 

Cife of U/asl?ir;<$tor> 525 

and that three British regiments had sailed from Cork for 
Charleston. His mind, we are told, was now set at ease 
with regard to Southern affairs; his spirits, so long jaded 
by his harassing tramps about the Carolinas, were again 
lifted up by his augmented strength, and Tarleton assures 
us that his lordship indulged in "brilliant hopes of a glorious 
campaign in those parts of America where he commanded." * 
How far these hopes were realized we shall show in a 
future page. 


Inefficient State of the Army — Maraud of Delancey — Death of 
Colonel Greene — Arrival of the Count de Barras — French 
Naval Force expected — Interview of Washington and De 
Rochambeau at Weathersfield — Plan of Combined Operations — 
Financial Arrangement of Robert Morris— Scheme to Attack 
the Works on New York Island and capture Delancey 's Corps 
— Encampments of American and French Armies in West- 
chester County — Reconnoitering Expeditions 

While affairs were approaching a crisis in Virginia, 
troubles were threatening from the North. There were 
rumors of invasion from Canada; of war councils and 
leagues among the savage tribes; of a revival of the terri- 
torial feuds between New York and Vermont. Such, how- 
ever, was the deplorable inefficiency of the military system 
that though, according to the resolves of Congress, there 
were to have been thirty-seven thousand men under arms 
at the beginning of the year, Washington's whole force on 
the Hudson in the month of May did not amount to seven 

* Tarleton. History of the Campaign, p. 291. 

526 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)<$tor) Irvii}$ 

thousand men, of whom little more than four thousand were 

He still had his headquarters at New "Windsor, just above 
the Highlands, and within a few miles of West Point. Here 
he received intelligence that the enemy were in force on the 
opposite side of the Hudson, marauding the country on 
the north side of Croton River, and he ordered a hasty 
advance of Connecticut troops in that direction. 

The Croton River flows from east to west across West- 
chester County, and formed as it were the barrier of the 
American lines. The advanced posts of Washington's army 
guarded it, and by its aid protected the upper country from 
the incursions of those foraging parties and marauders which 
had desolated the neutral ground below it. The incursions 
most to be guarded against were those of Colonel Delancey's 
loyalists, a horde of tories and refugees which had their 
stronghold in Morrisania, and were the terror of the neigh- 
boring country. There was a petty war continually going 
on between them and the American outposts, often of a 
ruthless kind. Delancey's horse and Delancey's rangers 
scoured the country, and swept off forage and cattle from 
its fertile valleys for the British army at New York. 

Hence they were sometimes stigmatized by the opprobri- 
ous appellation of Cow Boys. 

The object of their present incursion was to surprise an 
outpost of the American army stationed near a fordable part 
of the Croton River, not far from Pine's Bridge. The post 
was commanded by Colonel Christopher Greene, of Rhode 
Island, the same who had successfully defended Fort Mercer 
on the Delaware, when assailed by Count Don op. He was 
a valuable officer, highly prized by Washington. The enter- 
prise against his post was something like that against the 

Cife of U/asl?ir}<$l:oi) 527 

post of Young's House ; both had been checks to the for- 
agers of this harassed region. Colonel Delancey, who led 
this foray, was successor to the unfortunate Andre as Adju- 
tant-general of the British army. He conducted it secretly, 
and in the night, at the head of a hundred horse and two 
hundred foot. The Croton was forded at daybreak, just as 
the night guard had been withdrawn, and the farmhouses 
were surprised and assailed in which the Americans were 
quartered. That occupied by Colonel Greene and a brother 
officer, Major Flagg, was first surrounded. The major 
started from his bed, and discharged his pistols from a win- 
dow, but was shot through the head, and afterward dis- 
patched by cuts and thrusts of the saber. 

The door of Greene's room was burst open. He defended 
himself vigorously and effectively with his sword, for he had 
great strength ; but he was overpowered by numbers, cut 
down, and barbarously mangled. A massacre was going 
on in other quarters. Besides these two officers, there were 
between thirty and forty killed and wounded, and several 
made prisoners. 

It is said that Colonel Delancey was not present at the 
carnage, but remained on the south side of the Croton to 
secure the retreat of his party. It may be so; but the pres- 
ent exploit was in the spirit of others by which he had con- 
tributed to harry this beautiful region, and made it a " bloody 
ground." No foes so ruthless had the American patriots 
to encounter as their own tory countrymen in arms. 

Before the troops ordered out by Washington arrived at 
the post the marauders had made a precipitate retreat. They 
had attempted to carry off Greene a prisoner, but he died 
within three-quarters of a mile of the house. His captors, 
as they passed by the farmhouses, told the inhabitants that, 

628 U/or^s of U/as^ip^top Iruii)$ 

should there be any inquiry after the colonel, they had left 
him dead at the edge of the woods.* 

Greene was but forty-four years of age at the time of 
his death, and was a model of manly strength and comeli- 
ness. A true soldier of the Revolution, he had served at 
Lexington and Bunker's Hill; followed Arnold through the 
Kennebec wilderness to Quebec; fought under the walls 
of that city; distinguished himself by his defense of Fort 
Mercer on the Delaware, and by his kind treatment of his 
vanquished and wounded antagonist, Colonel Donop. How 
different the treatment experienced by him at the hands of 
his tory countrymen! 

The commander-in-chief, we are told, heard with anguish 
and indignation the tragical fate of this his faithful friend 
and soldier. On the subsequent day the corpse of Colonel 
Greene was brought to headquarters, and his funeral solem- 
nized with military honors and universal grief, f 

At this juncture, Washington's attention was called in 
another direction. A frigate had arrived at Boston, bring- 
ing the Count de Barras, to take command of the French 
naval force. He was a veteran about sixty years of age, 
and had commanded D'Estaing's vanguard, when he forced 
the entrance of Newport harbor. The count brought the 
cheering intelligence that an armament of twenty ships of 
the line, with land forces, was to sail, or had sailed, from 
France, under the Count de Grasse for the "West Indies, and 
that twelve of these ships were to relieve the squadron at 
Newport, and might be expected on the coast of the United 
States in July or August. 

* Letter of Paymaster Hughes. See Bolton's West* 

Chester Co., vol. ii., p. 94. 

t Lee's Memoirs of the War, vol. i., p. 407. 

Cife of \JJasfyiT)QtoT) 529 

The Count de Rochambeau, having received dispatches 
from the court of France, now requested an interview with 
"Washington. The latter appointed "Weathersfield in Connec- 
ticut for the purpose; and met the count there on the 2 2d 
of May, hoping to settle a definitive plan of the campaign. 
Both as yet were ignorant of the arrival of Cornwallis in 
Virginia. The policy of a joint expedition to relieve the 
Carolinas was discussed. As the French ships in Newport 
were still blockaded by a superior force, such an expedition 
would have to be made by land. A march to the Southern 
States was long and harassing, and always attended with 
a great waste of life. Such would certainly be the case at 
present, when it would have to be made in the heat of sum- 
mer. The difficulties and expenses of land transportation, 
also, presented a formidable objection. 

On the other hand, an effective blow might be struck 
at New York, the garrison having been reduced one-half by 
detachments to the South. That important post and its 
dependencies might be wrested from the enemy, or, if not, 
they might be obliged to recall a part of their force from 
the South for their own defense. 

It was determined, therefore, that the French troops 
should march from Newport as soon as possible, and form 
a junction with the American army on the Hudson, and 
that both should move down to the vicinity of New York 
to make a combined attack, in which the Count de Grasse 
should be invited to co-operate with his fleet and a body of 
land troops. ■ 

A vessel was dispatched by De Rochambeau, to inform 
the Count de Grasse of this arrangement; and letters were 
addressed by "Washington to the executive authorities of 
New Jersey and the New England States, urging them to 

Vol. XIV.— ***23 

530 U/or^8 of Waztyqqtor) IruiQ$ 

fill up their battalions and furnish their quotas of provisions. 
Notwithstanding all his exertions, however, when he mus- 
tered his forces at Peekskill, he was mortified to find not 
more than five thousand effective men. Notwithstanding, 
too, all the resolutions passed in the Legislatures of the va- 
rious States for supplying the army, it would, at this critical 
moment, have been destitute of provisions, especially bread, 
had it not been for the zeal, talents, and activity of Mr. 
Robert Morris, now a delegate to Congress from the State 
of Pennsylvania, and recently appointed superintendent of 
finance. This patriotic and energetic man, when public 
means failed, pledged his own credit in transporting military 
stores and feeding the army. Throughout the Revolution 
"Washington was continually baffled in the hopes caused by 
the resolutions of legislative bodies, too often as little alimen- 
tary as the east wind. 

The Count de Rochambeau and the Duke de Lauzun 
being arrived with their troops in Connecticut, on their way 
to join the American army, Washington prepared for spirited 
operations; quickened by the intelligence that a part of the 
garrison of New York had been detached to forage the Jer- 
seys. Two objects were contemplated by him: one, the 
surprisal of the British works at the north end of New York 
Island; the other, the capture or destruction of Delancey's 
corps of refugees in Morrisania. The attack upon the posts 
was to be conducted by General Lincoln with a detachment 
from the main army, which he was to bring down by water 
— that on Delancey's corps by the Duke de Lauzun with his 
legion, aided by Sheldon's dragoons and a body of Connecti- 
cut troops. Both operations were to be carried into effect 
on the 3d of July. The duke was to march down from 
Ridgebury, in Connecticut, for the purpose. Everything was 

Cife of U/a8t>ir><$toi) 531 

to be conducted with secrecy and by the way of surprisai. 
Should anything occur to prevent Lincoln from attempting 
the works on New York Island, he was to land his men 
above Spyt den Duivel Creek, march to the high grounds 
in front of King's Bridge, lie concealed there until the duke's 
attack on Delancey's corps should be announced by firing 
or other means ; then to dispose of his force in such manner 
as to make the enemy think it largef than it really was; 
thereby deterring troops from coming over the bridge to turn 
Lauzun's right, while he prevented the escape over the bridge 
of Delancey's refugees when routed from Morrisania. 

Washington, at the same time, wrote a confidential letter 
to Governor Clinton, informing him of designs upon the 
enemy's posts. " Should we be happy enough to succeed," 
writes he, "and be able to hold our conquest, the advantages 
will be greater than can well be imagined. But I cannot 
flatter myself that the enemy will permit the latter, unless 
I am suddenly and considerably re- enforced. I shall march 
down the remainder of this army, and I have hopes that the 
French force will be near at hand at the time. But I shall, 
notwithstanding, direct the alarm-guns and beacons to be 
fired in case of success ; and I have to request that your 
Excellency will, upon such signals, communicate the mean- 
ing of them to the militia, and put yourself at the head of 
them, and march with the utmost expedition to King's 
Bridge, bringing with you three or four days' provision at 

It was a service which would have been exactly to the 
humor of George Clinton. 

In pursuance of the plan, Lincoln left the camp near 
Peekskill on the 1st, with eight hundred men, and artillery, 
and proceeded to Teller's Point, where they were embarked 

532 U/or^g of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) Irvii)$ 

in boats with muffled oars, and rowed silently at night down 
the Tappan Sea, that region of mystery and secret enterprise. 
At daylight they kept concealed under the land. The Duke 
de Lauzun was supposed, at the same time, to be on the 
way from Connecticut. Washington, at three o'clock on 
the morning of the 2d, left his tents standing at Peekskill 
and commenced his march with his main force, without bag- 
gage ; making a brief halt at Croton Bridge, about nine miles 
from Peekskill; another at the Sleepy Hollow Church, near 
Tarrytown, where he halted until dusk, and completed the 
rest of his march in the night, to Valentine's Hill, four miles 
above King's Bridge, where he arrived about sunrise. There 
he posted himself to cover the detached troops, and improve 
any advantages that might be gained by them. 

Lincoln, on the morning of the 2d, had left his flotilla 
concealed under the eastern shore, and crossed to Fort Lee 
to reconnoiter Fort Washington from the cliffs on the oppo- 
site side of the Hudson. To his surprise and chagrin, he 
discovered a British force encamped on the north end of New 
York Island, and a ship of war anchored in the river. In 
fact, the troops which had been detached into the Jerseys 
had returned, and the enemy were on the alert ; the surprisal 
of the forts, therefore, was out of the question. 

Lincoln's thoughts now were to aid the Duke de Lauzun's 
part of the scheme, as he had been instructed. Before day- 
light of the 3d, he landed his troops above Spyt den Duivel 
Creek, and took possession of the high ground on the north 
of Harlem River, where Fort Independence once stood. 
Here he was discovered by a foraging party of the enemy, 
fifteen hundred strong, who had sallied out at daybreak to 
scour the country. An irregular skirmish ensued. The 
firing was heard by the Duke de Lauzun, who was just 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$toi> 533 

arrived with his troops at Eastchester, fatigued by a long 
and forced march in sultry weather. Finding the country 
alarmed, and all hope of surprising Delancey's corps at an 
end, he hastened to the support of Lincoln. Washington 
also advanced with his troops from Valentine's Hill. The 
British, perceiving their danger, retreated to their boats on 
the east side of Harlem River, and crossed over to New 
York Island. A trifling loss in killed and wounded had 
been sustained on each side, and Lincoln had made a few 

Being disappointed in both objects, Washington did not 
care to fatigue his troops any more, but suffered them to 
remain on their arms, and spent a good part of the day 
reconnoitering the enemy's works. In the afternoon he 
retired to Valentine's Hill, and the next day marched to 
Dobbs' Ferry, where he was joined by the Count de Rocham- 
beau on the 6th of July. The two armies now encamped; 
the Americans in two lines, resting on the Hudson at Dobbs' 
Ferry, where it was covered by batteries, and extending 
eastward toward the Neperan or Sawmill River; the French 
in a single line on the hills further east, reaching to Bronx 
River. The beautiful valley of the Neperan intervened be- 
tween the encampments. It was a lovely country for a sum- 
mer encampment ; breezy hills commanding wide prospects; 
umbrageous valleys, watered by bright pastoral streams, the 
Bronx, the Spraine, and the Neperan, and abounding with 
never-failing springs. The French encampment made a 
gallant display along the Greenburgh hills. Some of the 
officers, young men of rank, to whom this was all a service 
of romance, took a pride in decorating their tents, and form- 
ing little gardens in their vicinity. "We have a charming 
position among rocks and under magnificent tulip trees," 

534 U/or^s of U/asl?ii}<$toi) In/ii)$ 

writes one of them, the Count Dumas. General "Washington 
was an object of their enthusiasm. He visited the tents they 
had so gayly embellished ; for, with all his gravity, he was 
fond of the company of young men. They were apprised 
of his coming, and set out on their camp-tables plans of the 
battle of Trenton ; of "West Point, and other scenes connected 
with the war. The greatest harmony prevailed between the 
armies. The two commanders had their respective head- 
quarters in farmhouses, and occasionally on festive occasions 
long tables were spread in the adjacent barns, which were 
converted into banqueting halls. The young French officers 
gained the good graces of the country belles, though little 
acquainted with their language. Their encampment was 
particularly gay, and it was the boast of an old lady of the 
neighborhood, many years after the war, that she had danced 
at headquarters when a girl with the celebrated Marshal 
Berthier, at that time one of the aides-de-camp of the Count 
de Rochambeau.* 

The two armies lay thus encamped for three or four 
weeks. In the meantime letters urged Washington's pres- 
ence in "Virginia. Richard Henry Lee advised that he should 
come with two or three thousand good troops, and be clothed 
with dictatorial powers. "There is nothing, I think, more 
certain," writes Lee, "than that your personal call would 
bring into immediate exertion the force and the resources of 
this State, and the neighboring ones, which, directed ar 
they would be, will effectually disappoint and baffle the 
deep-laid schemes of the enemy." 

"I am fully persuaded, and upon good military prin- 
ciples," writes Washington in reply, "that the measures I 

* Bolton's History of Westchester Co., vol. L, p. 243. 

Cife of U/asf?ir)<$toi> 535 

have adopted will give more effectual and speedy relief to 
the State of Virginia than my marching thither, with dicta- 
torial powers, at the head of every man I could draw from 
hence, without leaving the important posts on the North 
River quite defenseless, and these States open to devastation 
and ruin. My present plan of operation, which I have been 
preparing with all the zeal and activity in my power, will, 
I am morally certain, with proper support, produce one of 
two things, either the fall of New York, or a withdrawal 
of the troops from Virginia, excepting a garrison at Ports- 
mouth, at which place I have no doubt of the enemy's inten- 
tion of establishing a permanent post." 

Within two or three days after this letter was written, 
Washington crossed the river at Dobbs' Ferry, accompanied 
by the Count de Rochambeau, General de Beville, and Gen- 
eral Duportail, to reconnoiter the British posts on the north 
end of New York Island. They were escorted by one hun- 
dred and fifty of the New Jersey troops, and spent the day 
on the Jersey heights ascertaining the exact position of the 
enemy on the opposite shore. Their next movement was 
to reconnoiter the enemy's posts at King's Bridge and on 
the east side of New York Island, and to cut off, if possible, 
such of Delancey's corps as should be found without the 
British lines. Five thousand troops, French and American, 
led by the Count de Chastellux and General Lincoln, were 
to protect this reconnoissance, and menace the enemy's posts. 
Everything was prepared in secrecy. On the 21st of July, 
at eight o'clock in the evening, the troops began their march 
in separate columns; part down the Hudson River road, 
part down the Sawmill River valley ; part by the Eastchester 
road. Scammel's light infantry advanced through the fields 
to waylay the roads, stop all communication, and prevent 

536 U/or^s of U/asbio<$toi) Iruii)^ 

intelligence getting to the enemy. Sheldon's cavalry with 
the Connecticut troops were to scour Throg's Neck. Shel- 
don's infantry and Lauzun's lancers were to do the same 
with the refugee region of Morrisania. 

The whole detachment arrived at King's Bridge about 
daylight, and formed on the height back of Fort Indepen- 
dence. The enemy's forts on New York Island did not 
appear to have the least intelligence of what was going on, 
nor to be aware that hostile troops were upon the heights 
opposite, until the latter displayed themselves in full array, 
their arms flashing in the morning sunshine, and their ban- 
ners, American and French, unfolded to the breeze. 

"While the enemy was thus held in check, "Washington 
and De Rochambeau, accompanied by engineers and by their 
staffs, set out under the escort of a troop of dragoons to 
reconnoiter the enemy's position and works from every point 
of view. It was a wide reconnoissance, extending across 
the country outside of the British lines from the Hudson 
to the Sound. The whole was done slowly and scientifically, 
exact notes and diagrams being made of everything that 
might be of importance in future operations. As the "cor- 
tege" moved slowly along, or paused to make observations, 
it was cannonaded from the distant works, or from the 
armed vessels stationed on the neighboring waters, but 
without injuring it or quickening its movements. 

According to De Rochambeau's account, the two recon- 
noitering generals were at one time in an awkward and 
hazardous predicament. They had passed, he said, to an 
island separated by an arm of the sea from the enemy's post 
on Long Island, and the engineers were employed in making 
scientific observations, regardless of the firing of small ves- 
sels stationed in the Sound. During this time, the two gen- 

Cife of \UasfyT)$toT) 537 

erals, exhausted by fatigue and summer heat, slept under 
shelter of a hedge. De Rochambeau was the first to awake, 
and was startled at observing the state of the tide, which 
during their slumber had been rapidly rising. Awakening 
Washington and calling his attention to it, they hastened 
to the causeway by which they had crossed from the main- 
land. It was covered with water. Two small boats were 
brought, in which they embarked with the saddles and 
bridles of their horses. Two American dragoons then re- 
turned in the boats to the shore of the island, where the 
horses remained under care of their comrades. Two of the 
horses, which were good swimmers, were held by the bridle 
and guided across; the rest were driven into the water by 
the smack of the whip, and followed their leaders ; the boats 
then brought over the rest of the party. De Rochambeau 
admired this maneuver as a specimen of American tactics in 
the management of wild horses ; but he thought it lucky that 
the enemy knew nothing of their embarrassment, which 
lasted nearly an hour, otherwise they might literally have 
been caught napping. 

While the enemy's works had been thoroughly recon- 
noitered, light troops and lancers had performed their duty 
in scouring the neighborhood. The refugee posts which had 
desolated the country were broken up. Most of the refu- 
gees, Washington says, had fled and hid themselves in secret 
places ; some got over by stealth to the adjacent islands, and 
to the enemy's shipping, and a few were caught. Having 
effected the purposes of their expedition, the two generals 
set off with their troops, on the 23d, for their encampment, 
where they arrived about midnight. 

The immediate effect of this threatening movement of 
Washington appears in a letter of Sir Henry Clinton to 

538 U/or^s of U/asbii)$toi) Iruir><$ 

Cornwallis, dated July 26th, requesting him to order three 
regiments to New York from Carolina. U I shall probably 
want them, as well as the troops you may be able to spare 
me from the Chesapeake, for such offensive or defensive 
operations as may offer in this quarter." * 

And Washington writes to Lafayette a few days subse- 
quently: "I think we have already effected one part of the 
plan of the campaign settled at Weathersfield, that is, giv- 
ing a substantial relief to the Southern States, by obliging 
the enemy to recall a considerable part of their force from 
thence. Our views must now be turned toward endeavoring 
to expel them totally from those States, if we find ourselves 
incompetent to the siege of New York." 

We will now give the reader a view of affairs in Vir- 
ginia, and show how they were ultimately affected by these 
military maneuvers and demonstrations in the neighborhood 
of King's Bridge. 


Movements and Counter-Movements of Cornwallis and Lafayette in 
Virginia — Tarleton and his Troopers scour the Country — A Dash 
at the State Legislature — Attempt to surprise the Governor at 
Monticello — Retreat of Jefferson to Carter's Mountain — Steuben 
outwitted by Simcoe — Lafayette joined by Wayne and Steuben 
— Acts on the Aggressive — Desperate Melee of McPherson and 
Simcoe — Cornwallis pursued to Jamestown Island — Mad An- 
thony in a Morass — His Impetuous Valor — Alertness of Lafayette 
— Washington's Opinion of the Virginia Campaign 

The first object of Cornwallis, on the junction of his 
forces at Petersburg in May, was to strike a blow at La- 

* Correspondence Relative to Operations in Virginia, 
p. 153. 

Cife of U/a8t?ir}<$tor) 539 

fayette. The marquis was encamped on the north side of 
James River, between Wilton and Richmond, with about 
one thousand regulars, two thousand militia, and fifty dra- 
goons. He was waiting for re-enforcements of militia, and 
for the arrival of General Wayne, with the Pennsylvania 
line. The latter had been ordered to the South by "Wash- 
ington, nearly three months previously; but unavoidably 
delayed. Joined by these, Lafayette would venture to re- 
ceive a blow, "that, being beaten, he might at least be 
beaten with decency, and Cornwallis pay something for 
his victory." * 

His lordship hoped to draw him into an action before 
thus re-enforced, and with that view marched, on the 24th 
of May, from Petersburg to James River, which he crossed 
at Westover, about thirty miles below Richmond. Here he 
was joined on the 26th by a re-enforcement just arrived from 
New York, part of which he sent under General Leslie to 
strengthen the garrison at Portsmouth. He was relieved 
also from military companionship with the infamous Arnold, 
who obtained leave of absence to return to New York, where 
business of importance was said to demand his attention. 
While he was in command of the British army in Virginia, 
Lafayette had refused to hold any correspondence, or re- 
ciprocate any of the civilities of war with him ; for which 
he was highly applauded by Washington. 

Being now strongly re-enforced, Cornwallis moved to dis- 
lodge Lafayette from Richmond. The latter, conscious of 
the inferiority of his forces, decamped as soon as he heard his 
lordship had crossed James River. "I am resolved," said 
he, "on a war of skirmishes, without engaging too far, and / 

* Letter to Hamilton, May 23d. 

540 U/orl^s of lI/ast?ir)$t:OT) Irufoq 

above all, to be on my guard against that numerous and ex- 
cellent cavalry, which the militia dread as if they were so 
many savage beasts." He now directed his march toward 
the upper country, inclining to the north, to favor a junction 
with Wayne. Cornwallis followed him as far as the upper 
part of Hanover County, destroying public stores wherever 
found. He appears to have undervalued Lafayette on ac- 
count of his youth. "The boy cannot escape me," said he 
in a letter which was intercepted. The youth of the mar- 
quis, however, aided the celerity of his movements; and now 
that he had the responsibility of an independent command 
he restrained his youthful fire and love of enterprise. Inde- 
pendence had rendered him cautious. "I am afraid of my- 
self," said he, "as much as of the enemy." * 

Cornwallis soon found it impossible either to overtake 
Lafayette, or prevent his junction with Wayne; he turned 
his attention, therefore, to other objects. 

Greene, in his passage through Virginia, had urged the 
importance of removing horses out of the way of the enemy; 
his caution had been neglected ; the consequences were now 
felt. The great number of fine horses in the stables of Vir- 
ginia gentlemen, who are noted for their love of the noble 
animal, had enabled Cornwallis to mount many of his troops 
in first-rate style. These he employed in scouring the coun- 
try, and destroying public stores. Tarleton and his legion, 
it is said, were mounted on race-horses. "Under this cloud 
of light troops," said Lafayette, "it is difficult to counteract 
any rapid movements they may choose to take!" 

The State Legislature had been removed for safety to 
Charlottesville, where it was assembled for the purpose of 

* Letter to Col. Alexander Hamilton, May 23, 1780. 

Cife of U/asl?ir}<$t09 541 

levying taxes and drafting militia. Tarleton, with one hun- 
dred and eighty cavalry and seventy mounted infantry, was 
ordered by Cornwallis to make a dash there, break up the 
Legislature, and carry off members. On his way thither, on 
the 4th of June, he captured and destroyed a convoy of arms 
and clothing destined for Greene's army in North Carolina. 
At another place he surprised several persons of note at the 
house of a Dr. Walker, but lingered so long breakfasting 
that a person mounted on a fleet horse had time to reach 
Charlottesville before him, and spread the alarm. Tarleton 
crossed the Rivanna, which washes the hill on which Char- 
lottesville is situated; dispersed a small force collected on 
the bank, and galloped into the town, thinking to capture 
the whole assembly. Seven alone fell into his hands; the 
rest had made their escape. No better success attended a 
party of horse under Captain McLeod, detached to sur- 
prise the governor (Thomas Jefferson), at his residence 
in Monticello, about three miles from Charlottesville, 
where several members of the Legislature were his guests. 
The dragoons were espied winding up the mountain; the 
guests; dispersed the family was hurried off to the resi- 
dence of Colonel Carter, six miles distant, while the gov- 
ernor himself made a rapid retreat on horseback to Car- 
ter's Mountain. 

Having set fire to all the public stores at Charlottesville, 
Tarleton pushed for the point of Fork at the confluence of 
the Rivanna and Fluvanna; to aid, if necessary, a detach- 
ment of yagers, infantry, and hussars, sent under Colonel 
Simcoe to destroy a great quantity of military stores col- 
lected at that post. The Baron Steuben, who was stationed 
there with five hundred Virginia regulars and a few militia, 
and had heard of the march of Tarleton, had succeeded in 

542 U/orl^s of \JJ asty^qtoi) Irvii)$ 

transporting the greater part of the stores, as well as his 
troops, across the river, and as the water was deep and the 
boats were all on his side, he might have felt himself secure. 
The unexpected appearance of Simcoe's infantry, however, 
designedly spread out on the opposite heights, deceived him 
into the idea that it was the van of the British army. In his 
alarm he made a night retreat of thirty miles, leaving the 
greater part of the stores scattered along the river bank; 
which were destroyed the next morning by a small detach- 
ment of the enemy sent across in canoes. 

On the 10th of June, Lafayette was at length gladdened 
by the arrival of "Wayne with about nine hundred of the 
Pennsylvania line. Thus re-enforced he changed his whole 
plan, and ventured on the aggressive. Cornwallis had got- 
ten between him and a large deposit of military stores at 
Albemarle Old Court-house. 

The marquis, by a rapid march at night, through a road 
long disused, threw himself between the British army and 
the stores, and, being joined by a numerous body of moun- 
tain militia, took a strong position to dispute the advance of 
the enemy. 

Cornwallis did not think it advisable to pursue this enter- 
prise, especially as he heard Lafayette would soon be joined 
by forces under Baron Steuben. Yielding easy credence, 
therefore, to a report that the stores had been removed from 
Albemarle Court-house, he turned his face toward the lower 
part of Virginia, and made a retrograde march, first to Rich- 
mond, and afterward to "Williamsburg. 

Lafayette, being joined by Steuben and his forces, had 
about four thousand men under him, one-half of whom were 
regulars. He now followed the British army at the distance 
of eighteen or twenty mnes, tnrowing forward his light 

Cife of U/as^ir>dtor> 543 

troops to harass their rear, which was covered by Tarleton 
and Simcoe with their cavalry and infantry. 

Cornwallis arrived at "Williamsburg on the 25th, and sent 
oat Simcoe with his rangers and a company of yagers to de- 
stroy some boats and stores on the Chickahominy River, and 
to sweep off the cattle of the neighborhood. Lafayette heard 
of the ravage, and detached Lieutenant-colonel Butler, of 
the Pennsylvania line, with a corps of light troops and a 
body of horse under Major McPherson, to intercept the 
marauders. As the infantry could not push on fast enough 
for the emergency, McPherson took up fifty of them behind 
fifty of his dragoons and dashed on. He overtook a com- 
pany of Simcoe 's rangers under Captain Shank, about six 
miles from "Williamsburg, foraging at a farm; a sharp en- 
counter took place; McPherson at the outset was unhorsed 
and severely hurt. 

The action continued. Simcoe with his infantry, who 
had been in the advance convoying a drove of cattle, now 
engaged in the fight. Butler's riflemen began to arrive, and 
supported the dragoons. It was a desperate melee; much 
execution was done on both sides. Neither knew the 
strength of the force they were contending with ; but sup . 
posed it the advance guard of the opposite army. An alarm 
gun was fired by the British on a neighboring hill. It was 
answered by alarm guns at Williamsburg. The Americans 
supposed the whole British force coming out to assail them, 
and began to retire. Simcoe, imagining Lafayette to be at 
hand, likewise drew off, and pursued his march to Williams- 
burg. Both parties fought well; both had been severely 
handled ; both claimed a victory, though neither gained one. 
The loss in killed and wounded on both sides was severe for 
the number engaged; but the statements vary, and were 

544 U/orl^s of ll/as^ir^tor? IruiQ^ 

never reconciled. It is certain the result gave great satis- 
faction to the Americans, and inspired them with redoubled 

An express was received by Cornwallis at Williamsburg 
which obliged him to change his plans. The movements of 
Washington in the neighborhood of New York, menacing 
an attack, had produced the desired effect. Sir Henry Clin- 
ton, alarmed for the safety of the place, had written to Corn- 
wallis requiring a part of his troops for its protection. His 
lordship prepared to comply with this requisition, but as it 
would leave him too weak to continue at Williamsburg, he 
set out on the 4th of July for Portsmouth. 

Lafayette followed him on the ensuing day, and took post 
within nine miles of his camp; intending, when the main 
body of the enemy should have crossed the ford to the island 
of Jamestown, to fall upon the rearguard. Cornwallis sus- 
pected his design and prepared to take advantage of it. The 
wheel carriages, bat horses, and baggage, were passed over 
to the island under the escort of the Queen's Rangers; mak- 
ing a great display, as if the main body had crossed; his 
lordship, however, with the greater part of his forces, re- 
mained on the mainland, his right covered by ponds, the 
center and left by morasses, over which a few narrow cause- 
ways of logs connected his position with the country, and 
James Island lay in the rear. His camp was concealed by 
a skirt of woods and covered by an outpost. 

In the morning of the 6th, as the Americans were ad- 
vancing, a negro and a dragoon, employed by Tarleton, 
threw themselves in their way, pretending to be deserters, 
and informed them that the body of the king's troops had 
passed James River in the night, leaving nothing behind but 
the rearguard, composed of the British legion and a detach- 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor> 545 

ment of infantry. Persuaded of the fact, Lafayette with his 
troops crossed the morass on the left of the enemy by a nar- 
row causeway of logs, and halted beyond about sunset. 
Wayne was detached with a body of riflemen, dragoons, 
and Continental infantry, to make the attack, while the 
marquis with nine hundred Continentals and some militia 
stood ready to support him. 

"Wayne easily routed a patrol of cavalry and drove in the 
pickets, who had been ordered to give way readily. The 
outpost which covered the camp defended itself more obsti- 
nately ; though exceedingly galled by the riflemen. Wayne 
pushed forward with the Pennsylvania line, eight hundred 
strong, and three field-pieces, to attack it ; at the first dis- 
charge of a cannon more than two thousand of the enemy 
emerged from their concealment, and he found too late that 
the whole British line was in battle array before him. To 
retreat was more dangerous than to go on. So thinking, 
with that impetuous valor which had gained him the name 
of Mad Anthony, he ordered a charge to be sounded, and 
threw himself horse and foot with shouts upon the enemy. 
It was a sanguinary conflict and a desperate one, for the 
enemy were outflanking him right and left. Fortunately, 
the heaviness of the fire had awakened the suspicions of La- 
fayette — it was too strong for the outpost of a rearguard. 
Spurring to a point of land which commanded a view of the 
British camp, he discovered the actual force of the enemy, 
and the peril of Wayne. Galloping back, he sent word to 
Wayne to fall back to General Muhlenberg's brigade, which 
had just arrived, and was forming within half a mile of the 
scene of conflict. Wayne did so in good order, leaving be- 
hind him his three cannon; tho horses which drew them 
having been killed. 

546 U/or^s of U/asl?in$tor) Iruipo; 

The whole army then retired across the morass. The 
enemy's cavalry would have pursued them, but Cornwallis 
forbade it. The night was falling. The hardihood of 
Wayne's attack, and his sudden retreat, it is said, de- 
ceived and perplexed his lordship. He thought the Ameri- 
cans more strong than they really were, and the retreat a 
mere feint to draw him into an ambuscade. That retreat, 
if followed close, might have been converted into a disas- 
trous night. 

The loss of the Americans in this brief but severe conflict 
is stated by Lafayette to have been one hundred and eigh- 
teen killed, wounded and prisoners, including ten officers. 
The British loss was said to be five officers wounded, and 
seventy -five privates killed and wounded. "Our field offi- 
cers," said Wayne, "were generally dismounted by having 
their horses either killed or wounded under them. I will 
not condole with the marquis for the loss of two of his, as 
he was frequently requested to keep at a greater distance. 
His natural bravery rendered him deaf to admonition." 

Lafayette retreated to Green Springs, where he rallied 
and reposed his troops. Cornwallis crossed over to James- 
town Island after dark, and three days afterward, passing 
James River with his main force, proceeded to Portsmouth. 
His object was, in conformity to his instructions from the 
ministry, to establish there or elsewhere on the Chesapeake 
a permanent post, to serve as a central point for naval and 
military operations. 

In his letter to Washington giving an account of these 
events, Lafayette says : "I am anxious to know your opin- 
ion of the Virginia campaign. The subjugation of this State 
was incontestably the principal object of the ministry. I 
think your diversion has been of more use than any of my 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tor) 547 

maneuvers ; but the latter have been above all directed by 
political views. As long as his lordship desired an action, 
not a musket has been fired; the moment he would avoid 
a combat, we began a war of skirmishes; but I had always 
care not to compromise the army. The naval superiority of 
the enemy, his superiority in cavalry, in regular troops, and 
his thousand other advantages, make me consider myself 
lucky to have come off safe and sound. I had my eye fixed 
on negotiations in Europe, and I made it my aim to give his 
lordship the disgrace of a retreat."* 

We will now turn to resume the course of General 
Greene's campaignings in the Carolinas. 


Greene's Retrograde Operation in South Carolina — Appears before 
Camden — Affair at Hobkirk's Hill — Rawdon abandons Camden 
— Rapid Successes of the Americans — Greene's Attack on the 
Fortress of Ninety-Six — Operations against Lord Rawdon — 
Greene on the High Hills of Santee — Sumter scours the Lower 
Country — Dash of Colonel Wade Hampton at the Gates of 
Charleston — Exploits of Lee and Hampton — Of Captain Arm- 
strong at Quimby Bridge — Action in the Neighborhood — End 
of the Campaign 

It will be recollected that Greene, on the 5th of April, 
set out from Deep River on a retrograde march to carry the 
war again into South Carolina, beginning by an attack on 
Lord Rawdon's post at Camden. Sumter and Marion had 
been keeping alive the revolutionary fire in that State; the 
former on the northeast frontier, the latter in his favorite 

* Memoirs de Lafayette, t. i., p. 445. 

548 U/orl^s of U/a8bii)$toi> Irving 

fighting ground between the Pedee and Santee Rivers. On 
the reappearance of Greene, they stood ready to aid with 
heart and hand. On his way to Camden, Greene detached 
Lee to join Marion with his legion, and make an attack upon 
Fort "Watson by way of diversion. For himself, he appeared 
before Cadmen ; but finding it too strong and too well gar- 
risoned, fell back about two miles, and took post at Hob- 
kirk's Hill, hoping to draw his lordship out. He succeeded 
but too well. His lordship attacked him on the 25th of 
April, coming upon him partly by surprise. There was a 
hard-fought battle, but through some false move among part 
of his troops, Greene was obliged to retreat. His lordship 
did not pursue, but shut himself up in Camden, waiting to 
be rejoined by part of his garrison which was absent. 

Greene posted himself near Camden ferry on the Wateree, 
to intercept these re-enforcements. Lee and Marion, who 
had succeeded in capturing Fort "Watson, also took a posi- 
tion on the high hills of Santee for the same purpose. Their 
efforts were unavailing. Lord Rawdon was rejoined by the 
other part of his troops. His superior force now threatened 
to give him the master} 7 . Greene felt the hazardous nature 
of his situation. His troops were fatigued by their long 
marchings; he was disappointed of promised aid and re- 
enforcements from Virginia; still he was undismayed, and 
prepared for another of his long and stubborn retreats. "We 
must always operate," said he, "on the maxim that your 
enemy will do what he ought to do. Lord Rawdon will 
push us back to the mountains, but we will dispute every 
inch of ground in the best manner we can." Such were his 
words to General Davie on the evening of the 9th of May, as 
he sat in his tent with a map before him studying the roads 
and fastnesses of the country. An express was to set off for 

Cife of U/a8t?ip<$toi) 549 

Philadelphia the next morning, and he requested General 
Davie, who was of that city, to write to the members of 
Congress with whom he was acquainted, painting in the 
strongest colors their situation and gloomy prospects. 

The very next morning there was a joyful reverse. 
Greene sent for General Davie. "Rawdon," cried he, 
exultiugly, "is preparing to evacuate Camden; that place 
was the key of the enemy's line of posts, they will now all 
fall or be evacuated; all will now go well. Burn your let- 
ters. I shall march immediately to the Congaree." 

His lordship had heard of the march of Cornwallis into 
Virginia and that all hope of aid from him was at an end. 
His garrison was out of provisions. All supplies were cut 
off by the Americans; he had no choice but to evacuate. 
He left Camden in flames. Immense quantities of stores 
and baggage were consumed, together with the court-house, 
the jail, and many private houses. 

Rapid successes now attended the American arms. Fort 
Motte, the middle post between Camden and Ninety-Six, 
was taken by Marion and Lee. Lee next captured Granby 
and marched to aid Pickens in the siege of Augusta; while 
Greene, having acquired a supply of arms, ammunition and 
provisions from the captured forts, sat down before the fort- 
ress of Ninety-Six on the 22d of May. It was a great mart 
and stronghold of the royalists, and was principally garri- 
soned by royalists from New Jersey and New York, com- 
manded by Colonel Cruger, a native of New York. The 
siege lasted for nearly a month. The place was valiantly 
defended. Lee arrived with his legion, having failed before 
Augusta, and invested a stockaded fort which formed part 
of the works. 

Word was brought that Lord Rawdon was pressing for° 

550 U/orl^s of U/asl?in<$tor) Iruioo; 

ward with re-enforcements, and but a few miles distant on 
the Saluda. Greene endeavored to get up Sumter, Marion 
and Pickens to his assistance, but they were too far on the 
right of Lord Raw don to form a junction. The troops were 
eager to storm the works before his lordship should arrive. 
A partial assault was made on the 18th of June. It was 
a bloody contest. The stockaded fort was taken, but the 
troops were repulsed from the main works. 

Greene retreated across the Saluda, and halted at Bush 
River, at twenty miles distance, to observe the motion of the 
enemy. In a letter thence to Washington, he writes: "My 
fears are principally from the enemy's superior cavalry. To 
the northward, cavalry is nothing, from the numerous fences ; 
but to the southward, a disorder, by a superior cavalry, may 
be improved into a defeat, and a defeat into a rout. Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina could not be brought to consider 
cavalry of such great importance as they are to the security 
of the army and the safety of a country." 

Lord Rawdon entered Ninety-Six on the 21st, but sallied 
forth again on the 24th, taking with him all the troops ca- 
pable of fatigue, two thousand in number, without wheel 
carriage of any kind, or even knapsacks, hoping by a rapid 
move to overtake Greene. Want of provisions soon obliged 
him to give up the pursuit and return to Ninety-Six. Leav- 
ing about one-half of his force there, under Colonel Cruger, 
he sallied a second time from Ninety-Six, at the head of 
eleven hundred infantry, with cavalry, artillery, and field- 
pieces, marching by the south side of the Saluda for the 

He was now pursued in his turn by Greene and Lee. In 
this march more than fifty of his lordship's soldiers fell dead 
from heat, fatigue and privation. At Orangeburg, where 

Cife of U/asfyir}<$toi} 551 

he arrived on the 8th of July, his lordship was joined by a 
large detachment under Colonel Stuart. 

Greene had followed him closely, and having collected 
all his detachments, and being joined by Sumter, appeared 
within four miles of Orangeburg on the 10th of July and 
offered battle. The offer was not accepted, and the position 
of Lord Rawdon was too strong to be attacked. Greene re- 
mained there two or three days; when learning that Colonel 
Cruger was advancing with the residue of the forces from 
Ninety- Six, which would again give his lordship a superior- 
ity of force, he moved off with his infantry on the night of 
the 13th of July, crossed the Saluda, and posted himself on 
the east side of the Wateree, at the high hills of Santee. In 
this salubrious and delightful region, where the air was pure 
and breezy, and the water delicate, he allowed his weary sol- 
diers to repose and refresh themselves, awaiting the arrival 
of some Continental troops and militia from North Carolina, 
when he intended to resume his enterprise of driving the 
enemy from the interior of the country. 

At the time when he moved from the neighborhood of 
Orangeburg (July 13th), he detached Sumter with about 
a thousand light troops to scour the lower country, and 
attack the British posts in the vicinity of Charleston, now 
left uncovered by the concentration of their forces at Orange- 
burg. Under Sumter acted Marion, Lee, the Hamptons, 
and other enterprising partisans. They were to act sepa- 
rately in breaking up the minor posts at and about Dor- 
chester, but to unite at Monk's Corner, where Lieutenant- 
colonel Coates was stationed with the ninth regiment. This 
post carried, they were to reunite with Greene's army on the 
high hills of Santee. 

Scarce was Sumter on his march, when he received a 

552 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii>$toi) Irving 

letter from Greene, dated July 14th, stating that Cruger 
had formed a junction with Lord Rawdon the preceding 
night; no time, therefore, was to be lost. "Push your 
operations night and day; station a party to watch the 
enemy's motions at Orangeburg. Keep Colonel Lee and 
General Marion advised of all matters from above, and tell 
Colonel Lee to thunder even at the gates of Charleston." 

Conformably to these orders, Colonel Henry Hampton 
with a party was posted to keep an eye on Orangeburg. 
Lee with his legion, accompanied by Lieutenant-colonel 
"Wade Hampton, and a detachment of cavalry, was sent 
to carry Dorchester and then press forward to the gates of 
Charleston; while Sumter with the main body took up his 
line of march along the road on the south side of the Con- 
garee, toward Monk's Corner. 

As Lee approached Dorchester, Colonel "Wade Hampton, 
with his cavalry, passed to the east of that place, to a bridge 
on Goose Creek, to cut off all communication between the 
garrison and Monk's Corner. His sudden appearance gave 
the alarm, the garrison abandoned its post, and when Lee 
arrived there he found it deserted. He proceeded to secure 
a number of horses and wagons, and some fixed ammunition, 
which the garrison had left behind, and to send them off to 
Hampton. Hampton, kept in suspense by this delay, lost 
patience. He feared that the alarm would spread through 
the country, and the dash in the vicinity of Charleston be 
prevented — or, perhaps, that Lee might intend to make it by 
himself. Abandoning the bridge at Goose Creek, therefore, 
he set off with his cavalry, clattered down to the neighbor- 
hood of the lines, and threw the city into confusion. The 
bells rang, alarm guns were fired, the citizens turned out 
under arms. Hampton captured a patrol of dragoons and 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 553 

a guard, at the Quarter House; completed his bravado by 
parading his cavalry in sight of the sentinels on the advanced 
works, and then retired, carrying off fifty prisoners, several 
of them officers. 

Lee arrived in the neighborhood on the following day, 
but too late to win any laurels. Hampton had been before- 
hand with him, made the dash, and "thundered at the gate." 
Both now hastened to rejoin Sumter on the evening of the 
16th, who was only waiting to collect his detachments before 
he made an attack on Colonel Coates at Monk's Corner. 
The assault was to be made on the following morning. Dur- 
ing the night Coates decamped in silence ; the first signal of 
his departure was the bursting of flames through the roof 
of a brick church, which he had used as a magazine, and 
which contained stores that could not be carried away. A 
pursuit was commenced ; Lee with his legion, and Hampton 
with the State cavalry, took the lead. Sumter followed 
with the infantry. The rearguard of the British, about 
one hundred strong, was overtaken with the baggage, at the 
distance of eighteen miles. They were new troops, recently 
arrived from Ireland, and had not seen service. On being 
charged by the cavalry sword in hand they threw down their 
arms without firing a shot, and cried for quarter, which was 
granted. While Lee was securing them, Captain Armstrong 
with the first section of cavalry pushed on in pursuit of 
Coates and the main body. That officer had crossed a 
wooden bridge over Quimby Creek, loosened the planks, and 
was only waiting to be rejoined by his rearguard, to throw 
them off and cut off all pursuit. His troops were partly on 
a causeway beyond the bridge, partly crowded in a lane. 
He had heard no alarm guns, and knew nothing of an enemy 
being at hand, until he saw Armstrong spurring up with 

Vol. XIV.—* * * 24 

554 U/orl^s of U/asfyir^tor; Irvii)$ 

his section. Coates gave orders for his troops to halt, form, 
and march up; a howitzer was brought to bear upon the 
bridge, and a fatigue party rushed forward to throw off 
the planks. Armstrong saw the danger, dashed across the 
bridge with his section, drove off the artillerists, and captured 
the howitzer before it could be discharged. The fatigue 
men, who had been at work on the bridge, snatched up their 
guns, gave a volley, and fled. Two dragoons fell dead by 
the howitzer; others were severely wounded. Armstrong's 
party, in crossing the bridge, had displaced some of the 
planks, and formed a chasm. Lieutenant Carrington with 
the second section of dragoons leaped over it; the chasm 
being thus enlarged, the horses of the third section refused. 
A pell-mell fight took place between the handful of dragoons 
who had crossed and some of the enemy. Armstrong and 
Carrington were engaged hand to hand with Colonel Coates 
and his officers, who defended themselves from behind a 
wagon. The troops were thronging to their aid from lane 
and causeway. Armstrong, seeing the foe too strong in front 
and no re-enforcements coming on in rear, wheeled off with 
some of his men to the left, galloped into the woods, and 
pushed up along the stream to ford it, and seek the main 

During the melee, Lee had come up and endeavored with 
the dragoons of the third section to replace the planks of 
the bridge. Their efforts were vain; the water was deep, 
the mud deeper ; there was no foothold, nor was there any 
firm spot where to swim the horses across. "W hile they were 
thus occupied, Colonel Coates, with his men, opened a fire 
upon them from the other end of the bridge; having no 
firearms to reply with, they were obliged to retire. The 
remainder of the planks were then thrown off from the 

Cife of U/a8t?ii><$tOQ 555 

bridge, after which Colonel Coates took post on an ad- 
jacent plantation, made the dwelling-house, which stood 
on a rising ground, his citadel, placed the howitzer be- 
fore it, and distributed part of his men in outhouses and 
within fences, and garden pickets, which sheltered them 
from the attack of cavalry. Here he awaited the arrival 
of Sumter with the main body, determined to make a 
desperate defense. 

It was not until three o'clock in the afternoon that Sumter 
with his forces appeared upon the ground, having had to 
make a considerable circuit on account of the destruction 
of the bridge. 

By four o'clock the attack commenced. Sumter, with 
part of the troops, advanced in front, under cover of a line 
of negro huts, which he wished to secure. Marion, with 
his brigade, much reduced in number, approached on the 
right of the enemy, where there was no shelter but fences ; 
the cavalry, not being able to act, remained at a distance 
as a reserve, and, if necessary, to cover a retreat. 

Sumter's brigade soon got possession of the huts, where 
they used their rifles with sure effect. Marion and his men 
rushed up through a galling fire to the fences on the right. 
The enemy retired within the house and garden, and kept 
up a sharp fire from doors and windows and picketed fence. 
Unfortunately, the Americans had neglected to bring on 
their artillery; their rifles and muskets were not sufficient 
to force the enemy from his stronghold. Having repaired 
the bridge, they sent off for the artillery and a supply of 
powder, which accompanied it. The evening was at hand ; 
their ammunition was exhausted, and they retired in good 
order, intending to renew the combat with artillery in the 
morning. Leaving the cavalry to watch and control the 

556 U/or^s of U/asI?ip^tor> Iruii}$ 

movements of the enemy, they drew off across Quimby 
bridge, and encamped at the distance of three miles. 

Here, when they came to compare notes, it was found 
that the loss in killed and wounded had chiefly fallen on 
Marion's corps. His men, from their exposed situation, had 
borne the brunt of the battle ; while Sumter's had suffered 
but little, being mostly sheltered in the huts. Jealousy and 
distrust were awakened, and discord reigned in the camp. 
Partisan and volunteer troops readily fall asunder under 
such circumstances. Many moved off in the night. Lee, 
accustomed to act independently, and unwilling perhaps to 
acknowledge Sumter as his superior officer, took up his line 
of march for headquarters without consulting him. Sumter 
still had force enough, now that he was joined by the artil- 
lery, to have held the enemy in a state of siege ; but he was 
short of ammunition, only twenty miles from Charleston, 
at a place accessible by tide water, and he apprehended the 
approach of Lord Rawdon, who, it was said, was moving 
down from Orangeburg. He therefore retired across the 
Santee and rejoined Greene at his encampment. 

So ended this foray, which fell far short of the expecta- 
tions formed from the spirit and activity of the leaders and 
their men. Various errors have been pointed out in their 
operations, but concerted schemes are rarely carried out in 
all their parts by partisan troops. One of the best effects 
of the incursion was the drawing down Lord Rawdon from 
Orangeburg, with five hundred of his troops. He returned 
no more to the upper country, but sailed not long after from 
Charleston for Europe. 

Colonel Stuart, who was left in command at Orangeburg, 
moved forward from that place and encamped on the south 
side of the Congaree River, near its junction with the 

Cife of U/asI?ir)<$toi) 557 

"Wateree, and within sixteen miles of Greene's position on 
the high hills of Santee. The two armies lay in sight of 
each other's fires, but two large rivers intervened, to secure 
each party from sudden attack. Both armies, however, 
needed repose, and military operations were suspended, as 
if by mutual consent, during the sultry summer heat. 

The campaign had been a severe and trying one, and 
checkered with vicissitudes; but Greene had succeeded in 
regaining the greater part of Georgia and the two Carolinas, 
and, as he said, only wanted a little assistance from the 
North to complete their recovery. He was soon rejoiced 
by a letter from Washington, informing him that a detach- 
ment from the army of Lafayette might be expected to bring 
him the required assistance; but he was made still more 
happy by the following cordial passage in the letter: "It is 
with the warmest pleasure I express my full approbation 
of the various movements and operations which your mili- 
tary conduct has lately exhibited, while I confess to you that 
I am unable to conceive what more could have been done 
under your circumstances than has been displayed by your 
little, persevering, and determined army." 

558 U/or^s of U/asfyii^tor? Iruip^ 


Washington disappointed as to Re-enforcements — French Arma- 
ment destined for the Chesapeake — Attempts on New York 
postponed — March of the Armies to the Chesapeake — Strata- 
gems to deceive the Enemy — Arnold ravages New London — 
Washington at Philadelphia — March of the two Armies through 
the City — Corn wal lis at Yorktown — Preparations to proceed 
against him — Visit to Mount Vernon 

After the grand reconnoissance of the posts on New 
York Island, related in a former page, the confederate armies 
remained encamped about Dobbs' Ferry and the Greenburg 
hills, awaiting an augmentation of force for their meditated 
attack. To Washington's great "disappointment, his army 
was but tardily and scantily recruited, while the garrison 
of New York was augmented by the arrival of three thou- 
sand Hessian troops from Europe. In this predicament 
he dispatched a circular letter to the governments of the 
Eastern States, representing his delicate and embarrassed 
situation. " Unable to advance with prudence beyond my 
present position," writes he, "while, perhaps, in the general 
opinion, my force is equal to the commencement of opera- 
tions against New York, my conduct must appear, if not 
blamable, highly mysterious at least. Our allies, who were 
made to expect a very considerable augmentation of force 
by this time, instead of seeing a prospect of advancing, must 
conjecture, upon good grounds, that the campaign will waste 
fruitlessly away. It will be no small degree of triumph to 
our enemies, and will have a pernicious influence upon our 

Cife of U/asf?ir)<$toi) 559 

friends in Europe, should they find such a failure of resource, 
or such a want of energy to draw it out, that our boasted 
and extensive preparations end only in idle parade. . . . The 
fulfillment of my engagements must depend upon the degree 
of vigor with which the executives of the several States 
exercise the powers with which they have been vested, and 
enforce the laws lately passed for filling up and supplying 
the army. In full confidence that the means which have 
been voted will be obtained, I shall continue my operations.' ' 

Until we study "Washington's full, perspicuous letters, 
we know little of the difficulties he had to struggle with in 
conducting his campaigns ; how often the sounding resolves 
of legislative bodies disappointed him ; how often he had to 
maintain a bold front when his country failed to back him ; 
how often, as in the siege of Boston, he had to carry on the 
war without powder! 

In a few days came letters from Lafayette, dated 26th 
and 30th of July, speaking of the embarkation of the greater 
part of CornwalhVs army at Portsmouth. " There are in 
Hampton Roads thirty transport ships full of troops, most 
of them red coats, and eight or ten brigs with cavalry on 
board." He supposed their destination to be New York, 
yet, though wind and weather were favorable, they did not 
sail. " Should a French fleet now come into Hampton 
Roads, " adds the sanguine marquis, "the British army 
would, I think, be ours." 

At this juncture arrived the French frigate "Concorde" 
at Newport, bringing dispatches from Admiral the Count 
de Grasse. He was to leave St. Domingo on the 3d of 
August, with between twenty-five and thirty ships of the 
line, and a considerable body of land forces, and to steer 
immediately for the Chesapeake. 

560 ll/orl^s of U/asl?!i?<$tor) IruFr>^ ' 

This changed the face of affairs, and called for a change 
in the game. All attempt upon New York was postponed ; 
the whole of the French army, and as large a part of the 
Americans as could be spared, were to move to Virginia, 
and co-operate with the Count de Grasse for the redemption 
of the Southern States. Washington apprised the count by 
letter of this intention. He wrote also to Lafayette on the 
15th of August: "By the time this reaches you, the Count 
de Grasse will be in the Chesapeake, or may be looked for 
every moment. Under these circumstances, whether the 
enemy remain in full force, or whether they have only a 
detachment left, you will immediately take such a position 
as will best enable you to prevent their sudden retreat 
through North Carolina, which I presume they will attempt 
the instant they perceive so formidable an armament." 

Should General Wayne, with the troops destined for 
South Carolina, still remain in the neighborhood of James 
River, and the enemy have made no detachment to the 
southward, the marquis was to detain these troops until he 
heard again from Washington, and was to inform General 
Greene of the cause of their detention. 

"You shall hear further from me," concludes the letter, 
"as soon as I have concerted plans and formed dispositions 
for sending a re-enforcement from hence. In the meantime, 
I have only to recommend a continuance of that prudence 
and good conduct which you have manifested through the 
whole of your campaign. You will be particularly careful 
to conceal the expected arrival of the count; because, if the 
enemy are not apprised of it, they will stay on board their 
transports in the bay, which will be the luckiest circumstance 
in the world." 

Washington's "soul was now in arms." At length, after 

Cife of \JJas\)iT)$tQT) 561 

being baffled and disappointed so often by the incompetency 
of his means, and above all, thwarted by the enemy's naval 
potency, he had the possibility of coping with them both 
on land and sea. The contemplated expedition was likely 
to consummate his plans and wind up the fortunes of the 
war, and he determined to lead it in person. He would take 
with him something more than two thousand of the Amer- 
ican army ; the rest, chiefly Northern troops, were to remain 
with General Heath, who was to hold command of West 
Point, and the other posts of the Hudson. 

Perfect silence was maintained as to this change of plan. 
Preparations were still carried on, as if for an attack upon 
New York. An extensive encampment was marked out 
in the Jerseys, and ovens erected, and fuel provided for the 
baking of bread ; as if a part of the besieging force was to 
be stationed there, thence to make a descent upon the enemy's 
garrison on Staten Island, in aid of the operations against 
the city. The American troops, themselves, were kept in 
ignorance of their destination. General "Washington, ob- 
serves one of the shrewdest of them, matures his great plans 
and designs under an impenetrable veil of secrecy, and while 
we repose the fullest confidence in our chief, our opinions 
(as to his intentions) must be founded only on doubtful 

Previous to his decampment, Washington sent forward 
a party of pioneers to clear the roads toward King's Bridge, 
as if the posts recently reconnoitered were about to be at- 
tempted. On the 19th of August his troops were paraded 
with their faces in that direction. When all were ready, 
however, they were ordered to face about, and were marched 
up along the Hudson River, toward King's Ferry. 

* See Thacher's Military Journal, p. 322. 

062 U/or^s of U/a8t?in$ton Iruipo; 

De Rocharnbeau, in like manner, broke up his encamp- 
ment, and took the road by White Plains, North Castle, 
Pine's Bridge, and Crompond, toward the same point. All 
"Westchester County was again alive with the tramp of troops, 
the gleam of arms, and the lumbering of artillery and bag- 
gage wagons along its roads. 

On the 20th, Washington arrived at King's Ferry, and 
his troops began to cross the Hudson with their baggage, 
stores, and cannon, and encamp at Haverstraw. He himself 
crossed in the evening, and took up his quarters at Colonel 
Hay's, at the White House. Thence he wrote confidentially 
to Lafayette, on the 21st, now first apprising him of his being 
on the march with the expedition, and repeating his injunc- 
tions that the land and naval forces, already at the scene 
of action, should so combine their operations that the En- 
glish, on the arrival of the French fleet, might not be able 
to escape. He wrote also to the Count de Grasse (presuming 
that the letter would find him in the Chesapeake), urging 
him to send up all his frigates and transports to the Head 
of Elk, by the 8th of September, for the transportation of 
the combined army, which would be there by that time. He 
informed him, also, that the Count de Barras had resolved 
to join him in the Chesapeake with his squadron. One is 
reminded of the tissue of movements, planned from a dis- 
tance, which ended in the capture of Burgoyne. 

On the 22d, the French troops arrived by their circuitous 
route, and began to cross to Stony Point, with their artillery, 
baggage, and stores. The operation occupied between two 
and three days; during which time Washington took the 
Count de Rocharnbeau on a visit to W est Point, to show him 
the citadel of the Highlands, an object of intense interest, in 
consequence of having been the scene of Arnold's treason. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$toi) 563 

The two armies, having safely crossed the Hudson, com- 
menced, on the 25th, their several lines of march toward the 
Jerseys; the Americans for Springfield on the Rahway, 
the French for Whippany toward Trenton. Both armies 
were still kept in the dark as to the ultimate object of their 
movement. An intelligent observ